China's parcel delivery sector hits record pace

2023-10-24 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Staff members at the joint distribution center in Yucheng handle parcels with the help of a sorting machine on Aug 30. (ZHANG YU/CHINA NEWS SERVICE)

China's peak season for parcel delivery is yet to come, but the sector has already hit a record pace.

As of Monday morning, China has handled more than 100 billion parcels so far this year — 39 days earlier than last year, the State Post Bureau of China said. That showcases the sector's strong resilience and vitality, it said.

According to the bureau's real-time monitoring data platform, the 100 billionth parcel was sent out at 7:39 am from a warehouse in Qingdao, Shandong province.

The parcel was a down jacket produced in Changshu, Jiangsu province, and pre-placed at a warehouse in Qingdao. A customer surnamed Liu, who is in Qingdao, received her parcel at about noon.

The sector's vitality demonstrates that China's economy has continued to improve, the bureau said on Monday.

China's parcel delivery sector has continued to grow rapidly this year. Since March, the number of parcels handled each month has reached a record 10 billion. In 2013, the annual number was less than 9.2 billion.

"China has a large market with a great number of consumers. As the consumption market continues to rebound, the significant increase in online shopping demand has been greatly driven by positive macroeconomic factors and has effectively led to the continuous growth of the industry," said Yang Fei, head of the parcel delivery section of the bureau's market inspection department.

In addition, the development of the industry in both urban and rural areas has become more balanced, while regional disparities have narrowed. Facilities have also been greatly improved, Yang said, adding that this has further spurred the sector's development.

In recent years, parcel delivery companies have been encouraged to expand investment and improve networks in rural areas, facilitating the movement of consumer goods to villages and agricultural products to cities.

The development of express delivery in central and western regions has accelerated, with both business volume and market share continuing to increase.

While improving the overall efficiency of parcel transportation and sorting in China, the industry has also continued to improve the layout of overseas hubs and warehouses in countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, Yang said. This has further expanded the service network and consolidated the foundation for industry development, he added.

The parcel delivery industry has emerged as a crucial link between production and consumption, playing a vital role in the country's economic development and consumer vibrancy, as well as sustaining crucial supply chains during turbulent times, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. With its unique ability to connect households, businesses and online and offline platforms, the industry has become an essential barometer of the Chinese economy's well-being.

Furthermore, its contributions to driving consumer spending, supporting rural vitalization, serving the manufacturing sector and facilitating domestic and international trade have been widely recognized.

"Analysis from the big data platform has shown that the sector's operation has remained at a high level of development," said Xu Liangfeng, deputy head of the data management department of the bureau's safety center.

"With the continuous improvement of infrastructure and the adoption of digitalization, automation and unmanned technologies, the express delivery industry in China has experienced sustained growth, especially in central and western regions," he added.

"The industry has also made significant strides in improving efficiency. Delivery times have been notably reduced, with a significant improvement in on-time delivery rates within three days. This enhancement in efficiency not only benefits businesses and consumers, but also contributes to the overall development of the industry," Xu said.

The Chinese sector's busiest season is about to come, usually following online shopping festivals in November and December.

Last year, China's parcel delivery sector handled 110.58 billion parcels. Given the strong momentum this year, another record is expected to be set later this year.

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