Unleashing the hidden potential of rail networks in global supply chains

Unleashing the hidden potential of rail networks in global supply chains

In the global logistics industry, rail networks play a crucial role in bridging vast distances and harbouring immense transformative power. However, the potential of rail networks to revolutionise supply chains is often overlooked.

Unlocking potential in countries worldwide

Rail freight, a cornerstone in the logistics industry, is underutilised in many developing countries due to outdated infrastructure. India, for example, has the world's fourth-largest rail network, moving 3 million tonnes daily. With strategic investment, we see how railways can be a blueprint for unlocking potential in other nations.

Examining success stories around the globe reinforces the transformative power of rail networks. Antwerp, a major European rail port, stands as a testament to effective hinterland connectivity. Partnerships with rail operators have empowered DP World Antwerp to handle six trains simultaneously, showcasing the versatility of rail transport in accommodating various types of block trains.

Moreover, initiatives like SARAL (Sustainable, Assured, Reliable and Agile Logistics) in India, a revolutionary rail freight service launched by DP World, provide door-to-door sustainable cargo solutions, connecting businesses in South Gujarat to markets in Delhi-NCR. With over 65 trains, 14000+ containers and seven rail-linked private freight terminals, we are one of India's largest private rail operators. Our well entrenched rail service network in the country connects hinterlands to commercial hubs as well as ports like Nhava Sheva, Cochin, Chennai and Mundra, establishing an on-demand multimodal network that enables efficient and reliable movement of cargo for our customers. Such initiatives not only promote economic growth but also emphasise the role of rail networks in achieving agile and reliable logistics solutions.

Sustainable shifts in developed nations

The impact of rail networks extends beyond developing nations. In the UK, Freightliner's commitment to DP World's modal shift program signifies a significant leap towards greener and more sustainable supply chains. By transitioning freight traffic from road to rail, our initiative aims to addressee congestion on busy motorways, curbing carbon emissions and improving local air quality.

The success of the Modal Shift Programme is evident, with an estimated 4,000 tonnes of CO₂ mitigated so far and a substantial reduction in trucks on the road. This aligns with our broader vision within DP World to become a net-zero logistics organization by 2050, supporting customers on their decarbonisation journey.

Incentivising change

The Modal Shift Programme in the UK is a good example of how DP World is using incentive programs for a sustainable future. It could prevent as much as 30,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted per year.

This not only benefits the environment but also highlights the economic viability of rail transport. The success of such programs, as seen in Southampton, where rail service uptake increased from 21% to 27%, demonstrates the importance of financial incentives in driving the shift towards more sustainable transportation modes.

Rail networks in intra-African trade

Rail networks are emerging as a catalyst for intra-African trade and environmental sustainability on the African continent. With their efficiency in moving large volumes of goods over extensive distances, rail systems have the potential to significantly enhance logistics infrastructure, cut transportation costs and stimulate cross-border trade in intra-African trade.

One illustration of this transformative role is the Maputo-Harare Rail Service, initiated by DP World Maputo in June 2021. This dedicated logistics rail service connects Maputo, Mozambique and Harare, Zimbabwe, with the primary goal of bolstering trade and logistics in the region. By reducing transit times for customers in Zimbabwe, the service provides a more direct and efficient delivery option.

Additionally, it forms a crucial part of a broader plan to extend rail connectivity, linking Maputo with South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland. The seamless integration with DP World Komatipoort in South Africa positions the Maputo Port as a pivotal gateway to South Africa's hinterland.

Beyond economic benefits, rail transport in Africa contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to road or air transport. As African countries prioritise rail infrastructure development, they have the opportunity to foster regional integration, enhance connectivity and reduce dependence on imports from distant countries.

Embracing rail for a sustainable future

The potential rail networks have for transforming supply chains is clear. In fact, it is a global narrative that transcends borders and economic disparities. From developing nations harnessing the power of rail for economic growth to developed nations driving sustainability through modal shift programs, the silent revolution of rail networks is reshaping the future of global trade.

As DP World continues to champion innovation and sustainability, embracing rail networks aligns seamlessly with our commitment to fortify supply chains, reduce carbon footprints and contribute to a more connected and sustainable world. Rail networks, often silent heroes in the logistics realm, are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping a future where efficiency and sustainability go hand in hand on a global scale.