For the RAILFREIGHT segment, we spoke to Miguel Pereira de Sousa, our product Manager Asia Rail Bridge.
Miguel, why don't you start by telling us something about your personal background. What kind of job training did you have? How long have you been working in the rail freight segment?
After a commercial apprenticeship I went to DHL. During my 10 years there, especially in the Intermodal department, I was able to build up and expand my expertise and network for intermodal, Europe-wide transport solutions perfectly. My work at Hanjin Europe and Panalpina (now DSV) has also optimized this expertise.
With this experience, I have gained a good overview and in-depth knowledge of rail freight and all the work processes involved.
How long have you been working for SENATOR INTERNATIONAL?
Since 2017, I have been Product Manager of the Asia Rail Bridge (SARB) for the further development of Rail freight service at SENATOR INTERNATIONAL. Through internal and external activities, I succeed in putting the railroad product on the agenda and driving it forward.
One of the many great opportunities was to give a TV interview last year at one of the largest logistics trade fairs in the world (transport logistic in Munich) on the subject of the "New Silk Road", as a specialist.
How is the rail freight segment generally positioned? What constant challenges arise in the work?
The rail link between China and Europe is still relatively new for many customers. The first official train on the "New Silk Road", a project proclaimed by the current
President Xi Jinping, reached Duisburg in 2014, but the connection itself has existed for much longer. The UN's "Trans-Asian Railway" project was launched in the 1950s with the aim of creating a continuous 14,000 km long rail link.
The greatest challenges to date remain the expansion of the route, the digitalization of processes and the reduction of bureaucratic hurdles. These measures are absolutely necessary and will lead to a further 50% reduction in running times in the long term. Where we initially needed well over 20 days, we are now approaching the target of less than 10 days in large steps. This is a great development.
When we talk specifically about rail freight at SENATOR INTERNATIONAL What are the Unique selling propositions? What distinguishes our performance in particular?
We at SENATOR INTERNATIONAL were already aware of the importance of this service shortly after its introduction in 2014. That's why we took care of the implementation right from the start. Two competence centers were also quickly set up to offer customers a Door2Door solution. Through the competence centers, we not only bundle our expertise, but are also able to act independently in the market. This enables us to offer our customers the best and most efficient options.
Looking ahead to the coming years: What are the chances of training or a professional career in this branch for interested people?
The crisis of the past few months, especially in the rail freight segment, has rather turned into a growth opportunity developed. Demand on the rail route, particularly on the Asia-Europe link, has increased enormously. Forecasts predict a 150% increase in the number of containers transported (TEU) by 2025, so there will be a lot to do in rail freight in the future and opportunities for motivated newcomers.
At the end of this article, I would like to give you an outlook: The Corona crisis has changed the entire industry and has created new challenges. What will happen in rail freight in the foreseeable future?
If you take fear out of the crisis, it becomes an opportunity! And we are actively seizing this opportunity, and the many new customers and shipment figures confirm that we have done a lot of things right.
For customers, rail freight is faster than sea freight and more cost-efficient than air freight. These are only two factors of many. Other points thanks to which we are well positioned for the future are fixed departure times, stable transit times and volatile rates. These arguments are convincing more and more customers to adapt their supply chains.
Miguel, thank you very much for the interesting talk.