Recently (May 22), China’s JD.com announced the success of its ‘mobile warehouse’ in the form of a train travelling along a network of rail lines connecting East Asia and Europe.
The train had travelled 10,000km from Hamburg, Germany to Xi’an, the capital of central China’s Shaanxi province, where JD operates one of its most important distribution hubs for cross-border imports.
By sea, the journey would have taken twice the time – up to 35 days. Additionally, the rail route is also 80% cheaper than air freight.
While JD has long included rail freight as a transport option from Europe, this is the first time the company utilized an entire train. Many of the products carried on this inaugural journey are expected to be sold during JD’s forthcoming June 18th Global Shopping Festival, one of the most important online sales events of the year in China.
Since JD handles all customs procedures, retailers and suppliers also benefit from a “one-stop shop” service solution, with JD handling every aspect of the freight process from the train station in Germany to the consumer’s doorstep in China.
JD is also building out a transfer center in Hamburg to extend this convenience to more merchants across Europe.
Additionally, the train functions as a ‘mobile warehouse’ – as soon as goods are logged and loaded onto the train in Germany, they can immediately be listed for sale on JD.com’s e-commerce platform in China.
This means that consumers can place orders for the products even while they’re in transit, shortening wait times for consumers while further reducing warehousing costs and increasing stock management efficiency for brands and retailers.