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Award-winning project Hitachi Rail Transport

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An Award-winning Partnership

Hitachi Rail partners with DB Schenker to transport 135 rail cars from Japan to the UK.

Driven by innovation, Hitachi Rail is a pioneering company that invests in new technologies, developing tailored solutions that provide government and commercial organizations with transport products and services that improve passenger travel, connect communities, and help boost economies. In 2019, Hitachi Rail was appointed to build new intercity trains for the UK West Coast Main Line. 

To transport its 135 railcars from Japan to the UK, Hitachi Rail enlisted the expertise of the DB Schenker Global Projects and Industry Solutions team. Together, we developed an innovative way for global transportation of 135 rail cars from the Hitachi Rail manufacturing facility in Kasado, Japan to its facility in Newton Aycliffe, UK.

"Even with the challenges of Covid-19 and the major changes in shipping lanes from the Far East to the UK, DB Schenker have consistently adapted and supported these requirements in a cost effective, safe manner – delivering these units to initial UK storage. Various issues and changes arose over the period of the current scope; however, DB Schenker's approach and customer service demonstrated the quality in their service and commitment to completion of these services in an effective and reliable manner." – Hitachi Rail

“Through our work, Hitachi Rail have been able to realize a significant cost saving. Additionally, the reduced transit times, flexibility to dispatch cargo as it is ready in Japan, coupled with our taking over of the customs clearance process, they have found great value in the partnership and are very pleased with the outcome.” – Ben Cunnington, Global Projects & Industry Solutions, DB Schenker UK

Tailor-made End-to-End Logistics

Traditionally, these railcars and panels were moved via inland barge from Kasado to Kobe or Yokohama for onward shipping via RoRo carrier or charter vessel to either Southampton or Teesport in the UK. A journey that takes 60-days in transit time and occasionally may result in inflated costs due to the inconsistent vessel frequency.

Our team, led by Ben Cunnington from DB Schenker UK, pulled together expertise of our global network and various partners and stakeholders to design an end-to-end logistics solution that was tailor made for Hitachi Rail.

Working in collaboration with Hitachi Rail, we set out our joint ambitions to improve efficiency and realize cost savings. By critically examining the existing process and implementing continuous improvements to the transport route, we were able to innovate, use fewer resources and sought more efficient routing options that resulted in shorter delivery times. Additionally, by removing certain legs of the journey, this provided savings on both cost and time as well as a greener footprint for the environment.

“It has been a pleasure for CMA CGM to collaborate with DB Schenker on the West Coast Rail Project. Working as a partnership we addressed the challenges by providing innovating solutions. We look forward to new horizons with DB Schenker and thank them for their continued support and professionalism.” – CMA CGM

Award-winning Freight Forwarding 

Designing an award-winning freight forwarding solution was a combination of ingenuity in design and a highly engaged team of DB Schenker experts handling everything from planning, coordination of multi-modal transportation through to customs clearance, short-term storage and delivery. 

The impact of the project was significant.

  • Reduced overall transit time from 60-days to 32-days.
  • Minimized waiting time and reduced costs by coordinating the arrival of the barge with the loading window of an awaiting container vessel.
  • Simplified and handled all customs clearance processes from the export out of Japan, through transit in South Korea, to the delivery of the railcars in the UK.
  • Utilized multi-modal transportation and short-term storage within the DB Schenker network and in conjunction with our partners CMA CGM, DP World Southampton, Somerscales.
  • State of the art temperature and humidity sensors within the cargo ensured environment control.
  • Provided constant monitoring and online tracking services in real-time, using vessel transponder data for both the barge and container vessel.


“Somerscales Heavy Haulage have been proud to assist DB Schenker in their safe and highly professional execution of this project.” – Somerscales

The DB Schenker team did a remarkable job bringing all the elements of this complex project together. Their expertise in the field was reflected in their attention to detail and the way they handled change.


          (Our partner DP World Southampton)


BIFA Project Award
© DB Schenker

BIFA Project Forwarding Award Winner

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) awarded our teams for strategic forwarding skills in transporting 135 railcars for Hitachi Rail in Japan and Korea to the UK.
BIFA Project Forwarding Award Winner Read more
DB Schenker Global Projects and Industry Solutions
© DB Schenker

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