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A trial shipment of commercial vehicles from Dongfeng Sokon (DSFK) arrived in Portbury, UK, last week from Chengdu in China.The vehicles included the C31 single cab minitruck, C32 double cab minitruck, C35 panel van and the C37 minivan.

The cargo travelled via Poland to Duisburg in Germany and then onto Tilburg in the Netherlands. It is the first time a commercial vehicle consignment has moved between China and the UK predominantly by rail. Only the final leg, from the port of Tilburg to London Gateway, was by short-sea and then by truck to their ultimate destination, Portbury.

The shipment was managed by UK-based OneTwoThree Logistics on behalf of Bassadone Group, which owns SsangYong Motor UK and is now the importer for DFSK products in the country. Bassadone has established a new subsidiary called Vehicle Import and Distribution to handle the imports.OneTwoThree Logistics was involved in the organisation of the first freight train to arrive in the UK directly from China via the Channel Tunnel in January this year. That train was carrying consumer goods.

Tom Jacobson, Managing consultant at automotive supply chain consultancy alljoinedup, who organised the shipment, said the rail service was provided by RTSB, a specialist in rail and intermodal services between China, the CIS countries and Europe. GVT International and A2B Logistics were involved in the crossing from Tilburg to the UK. The train left Chengdu on March 22nd and arrived in Portbury (near Bristol) on April 13th, a journey of 22 days – around half the time it would have taken by ocean vessel – despite a day’s delay in customs at London Gateway.

This is a reduction of around 23 days by ship, including the three days it would take to get from DSFK’s production plant in Chongqing to Shanghai port

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