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DOURGES, France: November 16, 2017. Maersk Line and Damco, subsidiaries of A.P. Møller – Mærsk, have completed their first block train from Wuhan, China to Dourges, France this week on behalf of sports retailer Decathlon.

Maersk Damco block trainDamco arranged the train and Maersk provided the containers. The two companies said using rail from China to Europe provides a "complementary advantage" with ocean freight at a third of the cost of airfreight.

"Our analyses show that the block train not only achieves reliable lead times, but also provides customers with improved cargo visibility through GPS tracking," explained Damco's head of Rail, Kasper Krog.

"Furthermore, because CO2 emissions from rail services are typically 12 times lower than that of air transport, with the block train, we are able to offer a solution that is efficient, fixed timetable, cost effective, transparent, and with [a] comparatively lower impact on the environment," he added.

Decathlon said it noticed the improvement in rail services between China and Europe in 2016 and began shipping products by rail to warehouses in Europe in "around 20 days" to save money and CO2.

The sports retailer celebrated its fourth decade in business last year by opening new stores in Mexico, the Ivory Coast, Slovenia, Singapore and Malaysia - bringing the total number to 1,176; managed 45 logistics facilities to enable the sale of one billion items; and generated revenue of almost €10 billion, a 9.5 percent increase over 2015.

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