Maersk pioneers first block train for Decathlon from Vietnam to France

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Maersk’s first dedicated block train from Vietnam to Europe recently left Hanoi station. The twenty-three 40-foot containers are going to Zhengzhou, China, and go directly to Liège, Belgium. The train carries the latest products for Decathlon, one of the world’s largest sporting goods retailers. By the end of August, all cargo will be transported by trucks to their final destination in Dourges and Rouvignies, France.

“This first block train from Vietnam to Europe for Decathlon will not only achieve reliable lead times but also provide our customer with improved visibility. Furthermore, this service is also driving synergies between intermodal and rail transport, adding resilience and great value for Decathlon’s supply chain,” explains Philippe Dunand, Maersk Global Account Director for Decathlon.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions to many industries and the global supply chain. However, for the sportswear industry, it is thriving as consumers continue to spend time exercising, as outdoor individual sports and home workouts both see increased participation. As a result, massive orders are piling up at Vietnam’s manufacturers, leading to a lack of space to store products.

“As Decathlonian, we engrave the mission “Make sport accessible for the many”. The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenging context but also an opportunity to prove our agility in supply chain management. Readiness to try new solutions with a can-do mindset makes us proud to bring happiness to all sport users,” said Lionel Adenot, Decathlon Vietnam Country Leader.

Maersk teams in Vietnam, China and Europe collaborate to guarantee a smooth transition and service delivery.

“There is a container shortage, limited space in the warehouse, and ocean capacity constraints on the services network. In our constant effort to cater to Decathlon’s specific needs, we are integrating various transport modes to provide agility and flexibility and reliability to transport their products. We are currently working on arranging three more block trains to Europe in the following quarter,” explains Rossie Hong Nguyen, Lifestyle and Retail Client Manager, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar Area at Maersk.

“Maersk’s dependability, along with their familiarity with our products and our needs, has proven invaluable. With the block train, we get a totally new transport solution that is efficient, reliable and with a lower impact on the environment. A good alternative solution comes up in the turbulent and pressure period of the traditional transport market,” added Diep Nguyen, Vietnam Logistics Leader at Decathlon.

Despite the severe flooding that overwhelmed the city of Zhengzhou last week, which had an impact on business activities, the rail services had resumed. Zhengzhou is the junction for the major north-south and east-west rail lines, with connections to most major cities in both domestic and overseas from one of Asia’s largest stations.

Maersk’s dedicated block train service for Decathlon can be traced back to 2017, the first departure from China. Since then, the company continues scaling up the intercontinental rail service to meet the growing demand of all customers. In fact, our train services between Asia and Europe serve 30 different countries across multiple routes, both east and westbound.

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