Photo credit (banner): Geodis

Shipping metro cars from Northern France to Hanoi by road, sea and rail

Experts at our Geodis subsidiary worked hand in hand with Alstom, a French railcar manufacturer, to perform this logistical high-wire act. Follow their oversized cargo as it travels from the northern French city of Valenciennes to Malaysia to the Vietnamese capital.

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On the highways of northern France, a rare feat of logistical genius is on display, as oversized trucks carry railcars for Hanoi’s new Metro Line 3, two by two, from Alstom’s Petite-Forêt factory in Valenciennes to the port of Dunkirk. Behind the scenes, the Industrial Projects team at our Geodis subsidiary is hard at work.

First stop: Champs-Elysées

In early December, four metro cars were loaded aboard the Champs-Elysées—the world’s largest container ship powered by liquefied natural gas—and departed France for Port Kelang, Malaysia.

From there, French shipper CMA CGM—handling the maritime portion of the journey for our Geodis subsidiary—is tasked with transshipment to Haiphong, a major port about 190 km from Hanoi. The first set of railcars will arrive in the Vietnamese capital less than two months after their departure from Dunkirk.

Each railcar requires a road convoy of more than 30 meters in length. And given space constraints at the Hanoi Metro Depot off-loading site, careful coordination is needed to guarantee a safe, damage-free operation.

Vu Huynh, Geodis Industrial Project Manager for delivery to Vietnam

Safe, damage-free delivery

Between early December 2020 and late June 2021, Geodis will ship 40 railcars—a total of 10,000 cu m of cargo—to Vietnam by road, sea and rail, managing oversized pre-carriage to Dunkirk, port handling, delivery to the destination site and transport engineering. It’s a tall order for our employees, who must also comply with Covid-19 requirements and arrange for specially designed lifting equipment at all three ports.

10,000 cu m of cargo shipped to Hanoi

Planned to the last detail

"This is a meticulous operation that we have been preparing for in close partnership with our customer, the manufacturer Alstom, over several months,” says Johann Taccoen, Deputy Regional Director for Industrial Projects at Geodis. “Our aim is to ensure that the goods reach their destination safely and securely, all within a very tight timeframe. In particular, our people’s skills in achieving reliable transit times, controlling costs and maintaining safety standards are pivotal.”

  • Railcars for Hanoi’s new metro are loaded aboard the CMA CGM Champs-Élysées. At 400 m long, she is the world’s largest container ship powered by liquefied natural gas.

  • Each Alstom-made metro car travels from the northern French city of Valenciennes to the port of Dunkirk on an oversized truck more than 30 m long.

  • Between early December 2020 and late June 2021, Geodis will ship 40 railcars—a total of 10,000 cu m of cargo—to Vietnam by road, sea and rail.

  • Geodis employees will manage delivery of the new metro cars from end to end, with each pair of railcars travelling from northern France to Hanoi in under two months.

  • Shipping railcars for Hanoi’s new metro system is a massive logistical challenge for our employees at Geodis. Meticulous coordination is required to ensure that they’re delivered safe and sound.

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