Fashion takes the train!

26 September 2017

To have the right red dress available for the consumer regardless of the sales channel, fashion brands need a ”pressed” supply chain

Discover how GEFCO provides innovative solutions to secure inbound fashion supply chains. We put five questions to Alice DEFRANOUX, Global Head of Rail freight at GEFCO. 

1/ Why use rail transport for fashion products? 

Since 10 years Fashion industries have faced structuring transformations: The transition from two collections to ten collections by season, a more and more demanding consumer (novelty, omnichannel, high expectations of CSR ….) and global competition. As a result of what, the fashion supply chain has become a strategic asset whatever the brand. It’s main challenge is managing the tricky equation in terms of risk: lead times, reliability, cost and CSR.
Rail transport is an innovative solution for all flows from Asia to Europe. It is ten times cheaper than air freight and twice as fast as sea transport and consumes five times less CO2 emissions than sea. It is therefore a competitive solution for shipments to Europe: rail rates are stable and the number of trains has steadily increased regularly, today there are more than 15 weekly westbound trains. Last but not least, rail flows are impacted less by fluctuations in fuel prices.


2 / Is it safe, is there a risk of theft or damage?

GEFCO provides Garment On Hanger (GOH) containers that are converted to be able to safely and conveniently carry garments on hangers – the same way you see them hanging in all the major retail stores.

The condition of the containers are inspected to ensure they are in good order and a suitable, condition for rail use, the risk of humidity transporting by rail is very low and it is also possible to set up an internal liner for very sensitive products. The risk of theft is almost zero. Containers are loaded door against door on a wagon, so no one can open them, even during trans-shipment because the terminals are secured with CCTV and security guards. With all our experience of rail transport we have never found any container seal broken on arrival.


3/ What are the main benefits of GOH containers for retail companies? 

Retail companies benefit a lot in terms of time, labour and money by using GOH containers for their garment imports as they can move the garments from the container to the shop floor directly and in good condition.


4/ How can GEFCO improve the fashion industries sourcing?

GEFCO is working with all existing rail corridors meaning we have access to 15 trains departing per week from seven different cities in China, and we operate a weekly LCL box transport from six different hubs. This geographical coverage opens the door to new territories in China. The industries which were historically based on the East Coast are now moving to the West and are directly connected by Rail to Russia and Europe. The rail route via Kazakhstan and Russia is 100% electric which again reduces the CO2 impact.


5/  To conclude would you say that  rail transportation could be a the solution for the future or just a fashion trend ? 

With its rail solutions dedicated to Fashion products, GEFCO weaves a sustainable link between fashion suppliers and the final consumer. Rail transportation is a reliable solution for present and future challenges. I'm convinced that it offers real leverage to optimising and securing the inbound fashion supply chain. 
Try the rail Silk Road!  Once you’re wearing this solution you won’t be able to do without it!