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Cainiao, JD, SF among logistics firms on global march

By FAN FEIFEI | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-22 09:28
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Employees work at a logistics warehouse of Cainiao Group in Madrid, Spain, in July. MENG DINGBO/XINHUA

Chinese logistics companies are ramping up efforts to boost delivery efficiency for cross-border parcels and build global logistics networks as part of their broader push to speed up expansion in overseas markets and ensure the stability and security of supply chains, experts said.

Cainiao Group, the logistics arm of Chinese tech heavyweight Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has recently enhanced the efficiency of its direct import shipping logistics services, allowing domestic consumers who buy products from cross-border import e-commerce platforms to receive their goods in just five working days.

Currently, Cainiao's direct import shipping service is available in 15 countries and regions, such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. The company said it focuses on improving digital operating capabilities and optimizing end-to-end import logistics systems.

Meanwhile, Cainiao has collaborated with Tmall Global, Alibaba's cross-border e-commerce platform. Consumers are now informed of the latest delivery times before placing orders and can claim compensation for tardy deliveries, which will significantly improve the overall logistics experience for both import merchants and consumers.

The company also said in January that it had entered the consolidated shipping sector in the US, aiming to offer millions of overseas Chinese and international students who place orders on Chinese e-commerce platforms more convenient delivery experiences.

Its offerings in the US market include both air and sea freight consolidation options, with the shortest delivery time being five days. The minimum shipping fees are just 12 yuan ($1.7) per person, Cainiao said.

Consolidated shipping services involve cross-border logistics combining orders from multiple e-commerce platforms or online stores into one package, which will be transported to consolidated warehouses before being delivered to individuals overseas.

JD Logistics, an arm of Chinese e-commerce giant JD, announced in December the launch of its international express delivery service. Currently, the express delivery service is available for individuals in Shenzhen and Guangzhou in Guangdong province, and will initially cover 23 countries across North America and Europe.

Customers can book doorstep pickups through the JD Express mini program on social media platform WeChat and expect one-hour pickups by couriers. Looking ahead, JD Logistics plans to extend the reach of this service across the nation.

JD is actively expanding its international supply chain and logistics capabilities. It has inked a strategic partnership with France-based Geopost, Europe's largest international parcel delivery network.

This collaboration enables prompt local delivery from JD's overseas warehouses, with one-day delivery possible in countries such as Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, France, the UK and Spain.

It is also accelerating the construction of a global logistics infrastructure, with plans to build more overseas warehouses in the Americas, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and the Middle East, where Chinese enterprises are accelerating steps to expand their business volume with e-commerce penetration rates continuing to rise.

Lu Zhenwang, CEO of Shanghai-based Wanqing Consultancy, said efforts to invest in global logistics networks and overseas warehouse construction will enhance the competitiveness of Chinese foreign trade enterprises, facilitate the development of the cross-border e-commerce sector and bolster sales of Chinese products overseas.

"Overseas warehouses serve as vital infrastructure that boosts growth in the nation's cross-border e-commerce sector," said Zhang Zhouping, a senior analyst of business-to-business and cross-border activities at the Internet Economy Institute, adding that such facilities enable quicker Customs clearance, faster delivery and lower costs.

SF Airlines, the aviation branch of logistics giant SF Express, has invested heavily in providing air cargo services and expanding its freighter fleet globally. Ezhou Huahu Airport in Hubei province — China's first dedicated freight airport — began operations in July 2022. SF Express holds a 46 percent stake in Hubei International Logistics Airport Co Ltd, the operator of Ezhou Huahu Airport.

To date, SF Airlines has launched a total of 11 international cargo routes from Ezhou to global destinations, said the cargo airline, adding it will continuously expand its fleet size and strengthen its air logistics service capacity.

Yang Daqing, deputy director of research at the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, said developing the international air freight business will help enterprises boost long-haul freight capacity and further improve cross-border delivery efficiency.

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