DP World provides new finished vehicle solution for essential Mexico-United States trade route

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Global end-to-end logistics services provider DP World has designed an industry-first solution based on using 53-foot intermodal containers with racking systems to transport finished vehicles by rail from Mexico to the United States and Canada.

From 1 June 2024, DP World will offer an industry-first, 53-foot intermodal container solution to transport cars via rail from Mexico to the United States and Canada. The service is based on loading finished vehicles into containers directly at the factories in Mexico or at designated stuffing yards close to the manufacturing hubs. The containers are then trucked to intermodal rail ramps and moved by rail to destinations like Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto.

At destination, the containers are trucked from the rail ramp to designated yards where the cars are unloaded and trucked to the dealerships. Door to door transits range from 8-14 days, depending on the route. It is estimated that the new service will enable an additional 30,000 finished vehicles to be transported between the trading partners in 2024.

Traditional 40-foot containers typically house a maximum of four cars, but the 53-foot-long containers can accommodate up to six vehicles, significantly enhancing efficiency whilst reducing costs for OEMs. Notably, DP World is the only logistics company currently providing the intermodal 53-foot container solution for finished vehicles.

In 2023, Mexico surpassed China to become the U.S.’s top trading partner, largely thanks to a burgeoning cross-border relationship based on Mexico’s growing manufacturing sector, particularly in automotive. This was bolstered by the 2020 United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

DP World’s new ‘cars in containers’ innovation comes as the automotive logistics industry in North America continues to face challenges caused by ro-ro and multilevel railcar capacity shortages, which are fueling the need for alternative outbound solutions.

It is estimated that DP World’s new service will enable an additional 30,000 cars to be transported between the trading partners in 2024. Since the beginning of 2024, the company has already transported over 5,000 cars across the Mexico–U.S. border for American and Japanese based OEMs with manufacturing in Mexico.

Christoph Seitz, Global Vice President Finished Vehicles at DP World (pictured right) commented: “Our extensive experience shipping cars in containers worldwide, the large racking fleet we can deploy globally within weeks, and our expert teams and hyper focus on quality and service have enabled DP World to provide this unique solution in a challenging environment. Our initial volume shipments this year have proven concept that the 53-foot intermodal solution is a viable alternative during times when traditional capacity is tight, so we decided to officially offer the program to the wider market.”