Since the Lat Krabang Inland Container Depot (ICD) opened for service in 1995 to facilitate exporters and importers with a direct connection to Laem Chabang Port, the export-import gateway has always been the top priority for the facility. The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) currently provides transportation services from the ICD to Laem Chabang Port for importing and exporting cargo through six service providers.

Departing trains from the ICD usually offer slots of capacity to six service providers, meaning the service providers have limited cargo space in each train. Should the quantity of cargo exceed the provided slots, shipments may have to wait for another train or change the transportation mode, which could cost more time and money.

As a solution, CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics from France launched the Block Train service from the ICD to Laem Chabang Port on September 9th, 2020, connecting shipments to the Group‘s sea freight services. 

Benoit de Quillacq, Managing Director of CMA CGM Thailand highlighted “This strategic decision to own space on an entire train instead of having just space slots promises our shippers the much-needed reliability. Our customers can be assured of space as well as seamless inland connection via rail to Lat Krabang from Laem Chabang where 20 CMA CGM and CNC services make their weekly stops.”

The Block Train offers a chartered rail service for CMA CGM’s containers, allowing the Company to manage the number of containers, and they have complete control over the transportation schedule, guaranteeing that customers will receive the highest benefit. The Block Train service is also CMA CGM Group’s spearhead for chartered train services in Asia.

This chartered train service originated from the significantly increasing barge service fees, prompting CMA CGM to look for an alternative choice to continue providing services under the same quality standard. This coincided with the announcement of the reduction of cargo capacity fees from the SRT. Hence, CMA CGM took the chance to discuss with the SRT regarding the possibility of developing a rail cargo transportation service, where they can own the space of the entire train.

After discussion, CMA CGM saw that the service has an opportunity to become a reality. It then coordinated with related parties and succeeded in bringing the Block Train service to life, as it offers a chartered rail transportation service from the ICD, Lat Krabang to Laem Chabang Port. CMA CGM Thailand is the first company in the Group in the Asia region to establish a chartered train service successfully.

CMA CGM operates four chartered trains per week from Thursday to Sunday, aligned with the cargo transiting schedule for vessels in Laem Chabang Port that are voyaging to destinations in Japan, Singapore, and the United States.

Each train can carry over 60 TEUs and would require dozens of trucks to transport the same amount of containers. This greatly helps reduce fuel consumption, which falls under the CMA CGM Group’s dedicated mission to prevent global climate destabilization. Not only is the service beneficial to exporters, but the industries surrounding the ICD will also receive a benefit from the ability to import essential materials as well.

The Block Train service will enhance CMA CGM’s reliability with various transportation modes between Bangkok and Laem Chabang Port, including truck, chartered train, and barge. This allows CMA CGM to agilely manage containers while assuring customers that their shipment will safely reach the destination on time. 

Environmental Approach

Environmental concern is another factor that drove CMA CGM on the path to develop a chartered train service, aside from to elevate their reliability.

From a study comparing truck and rail transportation, the latter can reduce the release of CO2 by 67%, making it a more environmentally friendly transportation mode for any journey under 100 kilometers. This aligns with the CMA CGM’s environmental policy to reduce its carbon emissions per tonne transported by 40% by 2030, as well as its goal to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The launch of CMA CGM Group’s latest product reflects the Group’s dedication and their continually developing mindset. Although they have encountered obstacles, their determination and willingness to adapt to alternative routes always fuels them to overcome the impossible.

CMA CGM’s Block Train service offers four rail services per week, from the ICD, Lat Krabang to Laem Chabang Port, as well as three rail transportation services per week from Laem Chabang Port to the ICD, Lat Krabang.

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