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By | Paul Kunert 23rd September 2011 14:28

Laptops en route to Europe by rail for first time

Silk Road back in bid to avoid seaborne computer glut

The first batch of Acer notebooks sent by rail is set to arrive in Europe in the next two weeks, and the rail-freighting trend may soon be adopted across the PC industry.

The Taiwanese giant is starting to build more flexibility into its supply chain in the wake of the inventory pile-up earlier this year that dented profits and upset channel partners.

According to Digi Times, 40,000 units are currently en route travelling through China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland and into Germany.

This method is estimated to cut "shipping" times from the 40 days it takes by sea to just a fortnight. Acer is expected to use the route only once every two weeks but if the pilot goes well it will be ramped up to a daily operation.

The vast majority of notebooks are sent to Europe from China by sea, although high-end specs are transported by air.

Nestor Cano, EMEA president at Tech Data, said inventory levels in the channel had improved but welcomed any moves by vendors to vary stock transportation methods, using a "combination of air, boat and rail".

He told El Reg that retailers and resellers were "conservative" in forecasting sales in the current economic climate and were placing smaller orders more frequently.

Acer was unavailable for comment at the time of publication. ®

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