Earlier today, UPS said it has expanded its China-Europe rail service in a move geared to help shippers cut down on supply chain costs, as well as better balance cost/time-in-transit needs.UPS initially rolled out this service in July 2014, with an eye on expanding its global forwarding services and provide shippers with more option. This offering is comprised of UPS’s Preferred full and less-than-container load (FCL and LCL) multimodal rail service between Europe and China.The new stations added in China are located in Changsha, Chongqing, Suzhou and Wuhan, which compliment the existing ones in Zhengzhou and Chengdu. And in Europe, the new stations are in Changsha, Chongqing, Suzhou and Wuhan, with existing stations already established in Lodz, Poland and Hamburg, Germany.UPS said the new China-based stations were picked because they are close to provincial industrial manufacturing, commercial and cultural centers in interior China. In Europe, the Duisburg station was picked as it is “in the heart” of the industrial Ruhr area of Germany, with access to river, road, rail, and air transport, with the Warsaw station serving Poland, which UPS said serves the growing Polish economy in the European Union that serves as a center for e-commerce fulfillment, R&D, and industrial manufacturing.“Our China-Europe rail services can save customers up to 65% versus air freight and improve time-in-transit by 40% versus traditional ocean freight service,” said Cindy Miller, president of UPS Global Freight Forwarding, in a statement. “By giving our customers more options to balance cost and speed of delivery, UPS is committed to helping businesses in China and Europe succeed and expand.”When this service was first introduced by UPS in July 2014, company officials said that the rail movements, coupled with a trucking network, enable UPS to provide increased service to shippers in China and Europe. What’s more, UPS told LM that this service is up to 50 percent faster than ocean freight and up to 70 percent less costly than air freight. And it added in 2014 that this rail service UPS said that rail service was well-timed to meet the needs of shippers in terms of balancing supply chains, citing a study from Seabury that noted more than 70 percent of shippers expect a moderate to strong shift to lower cost modes over the next 1-to-3 years (from 2015-2017).The UPS spokesman said at the time that the company’s customers were looking to improve their supply chain and cut costs while obtaining a time-in-transit that best fits their business.“The solution will be similarly positioned and has a similar value proposition as Sea-Air, meaning it is slower and cheaper than Air Freight, but more expensive and faster than Ocean Freight,” he said. “UPS is always looking to ensure we have the right products and services to best serve our customers. UPS began evaluation of rail as a possible transportation solution on the China-Europe lane in 2013, and, after thorough evaluation, began offering the service to our customers in the second quarter of 2014. This is an expansion of our forwarding services and gives customers more options in the Asia-Europe lane. Like other multimodal offerings, the rail solution will save money for customers shifting volume from air freight to rail.”