China / Society

Heavy rains sidelining couriers

By Meng Jing in Hangzhou, Wang Ying in Shanghai and Zhou Lihua in Wuhan (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-08 07:36

Heavy rains sidelining couriers

A food deliveryman checks information on a flooded street in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Wednesday.[Photo by Miao Jian/For China Daily]

Zou Huawei, a deliveryman at the Wuhan office of Yunda Express Co, said he has not been able to work for days because of the heavy rain.

"It's impossible for me to get out of the apartment, let alone to deliver goods to other people. The rainfall would definitely get all the packages wet," he said.

Despite the difficulties in making deliveries due to rain, flooding and traffic problems, residents of Hubei province, one of the areas hit hardest by flooding, ordered more daily necessities than usual online, while delivery companies tried their best to keep the packages moving.

Statistics provided by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group showed that online orders for instant noodles jumped 25 percent in the past week in Hubei province.

Bao Ying, a spokeswoman at Zhejiang Cainiao Supply Chain Management Co, the logistics offshoot of Alibaba Group, said the company's three warehouses in Wuhan, Hubei province, had not been affected by the flooding.

"But due to traffic problems, deliveries to some flooded areas have stopped. It is very difficult to say precisely how many packages will be affected. As soon as the traffic improves, couriers will resume working," she said.

According to Bao, couriers have tried their utmost to maintain operations, even using motorboats and plastic buckets while making deliveries. "But the top priority is to ensure the safety of deliverymen," she added.

Wuhan University student Hao Lu said she postponed further online shopping because she feared that packages might be water-damaged or lost.

Yang Liansheng, general manager at the Hubei office of YTO Express, said that 80 percent of the company's business was delayed due to heavy rain and paralyzed traffic in the city.

YTO Express reported "fairly normal" business operations in other flooded areas across the country, such as Anhui and Jiangsu provinces.

There were no signs the weather would improve in the days ahead, since a huge typhoon is on the way.

Typhoon Nepartak, the first major tropical storm of the year, was forecast to make landfall on Friday in Taiwan and later in Fujian province. It is expected to bring downpours to eastern regions.

Ni Yuchen contributed to this story.

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