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Swiss firm sees big demand for logistics equipment

By Zhu Wenqian | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-14 10:23
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An SF Express employee sorts goods at a package processing center in Yichang, Hubei province. [Photo by Zhang Guorong/For China Daily]

Interroll Group, a Swiss manufacturer of products for material handling logistics and automation, such as rollers and sorters, said it remains confident on the huge growth potential in China and will continue to increase investments, triggered by robust demand from the express delivery market in the country.

Later this year, the technology center of Interroll at Suzhou, Jiangsu province, will introduce a new German microelectronic roller assembly line and some advanced processing equipment for electric roller pipes, the company said.

Besides, the Swiss firm will also set up a new office in Beijing, in addition to its current one in Shanghai, to provide more direct services to its customers in North China and Northeast China, to cater to the growing demand.

Its domestic customers include e-commerce retailers Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, JD and, express delivery company SF Express, and some major multinational companies in the food and beverage sectors, such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle. Interroll doesn't directly provide its products like rollers and sorters to those customers, but provides them to the original equipment manufacturers of the companies.

"We have a very good growth foundation in the China and Asia market, on the back of favorable policies that encourage foreign investments and the support of the Belt and Road Initiative," said Ben Xia, executive vice-president and head of operations Asia at Interroll.

"In the next few years, we will continue to seize the market opportunities in the country, introduce more leading logistics technology, products and solutions, and help the local logistics sector to become smarter, more efficient and more environment-friendly," he said.

"Comprehensive and highly efficient logistics systems have become the core competence of enterprises to attract customers, especially for e-commerce platforms and express delivery companies," Xia said.

Meanwhile at Beijing Daxing International Airport, which is expected to start commercial operations in late September, most luggage check-in and security check facilities are equipped with rollers and other products of Interroll. In fact, 80 percent of the security check equipment at global airports use rollers of Interroll, the company said.

In the first half of this year, two product groups of the company have netted particularly strong growth, namely conveyors and sorters, growing 17.5 percent year-on-year, and rollers, up 19.9 percent over a year ago, with the Asia market being a significant contributor to the fast growth, according to its earnings report.

In the past few years, China's logistics sector has been growing in terms of scale and service quality, with more consumers shifting to online shopping amid fierce market competition between industrial rivals.

"Science and technology will play a crucial role in the development of the logistics sector. Logistics can only grow well in large scales. Digitalization and intellectualization can result in the increase of benefits and structural changes," said Dong Zhonglang, partner of Hidden Hill Capital, a private equity fund of logistics firm GLP.

In the first six months, the total logistics value in China reached 139.5 trillion yuan ($19.75 trillion), adding 6.1 percent year-on-year, according to data provided by the National Development and Reform Commission.

Last year, the annual express delivery business volume in China surpassed 50 billion units, and it had been ranked the leader globally for five consecutive years, exceeding the sum volumes of the United States, Europe and Japan. From 2010 to 2018, the compound annual growth rate of the express delivery market was 47 percent, according to State Post Bureau of China.

Zhang Yong, president of Alibaba Group, earlier said for e-commerce retailers, the focus of future competition should be around smart and digital logistics, and the whole logistics sector is stepping into an all-around digital age.

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