Global express delivery grows despite headwinds

2023-11-24 10:02:41China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

A worker sorts parcels at a delivery distribution center in Rugao, Jiangsu province, on Nov 13. (XU HUI/FOR CHINA DAILY)

Despite international instability and economic uncertainty over the past year, the global express delivery market has bucked the downward trend and witnessed healthy development, according to a report released on Wednesday.

An important part of the global supply chain, express delivery has weathered strong headwinds such as high inflation, geopolitical tensions and the pandemic, the report said.

The annual report, first published in 2019, was issued by the Development and Research Center of the State Post Bureau, China's national regulator for postal and express delivery services, at the fifth China (Hangzhou) International Express Delivery Conference in Tonglu, Zhejiang province.

Last year, some 189 billion parcels were handled worldwide, an increase of 9.8 percent year-on-year, which translates into about 24 parcels for every single person on the globe, the report said. Revenue from the industry stood at 4.1 trillion yuan ($573 billion), up about 12.2 percent year-on-year.

"Express delivery has become a weather vane of economic vitality and a barometer of economic development, as well as an important force to narrow urban-rural gaps and promote common prosperity," said Zhao Chongjiu, head of the State Post Bureau, while addressing the conference.

Since 2014, China has consistently ranked first in the world in terms of express parcels delivered each year. More than 110 billion express parcels were delivered in China last year, over 58 percent of the global total.

"The robust development of the express delivery sector reflects the vigor and vitality of China's consumer market and it is a vivid portrayal of the nation's continuous economic recovery," said Wang Xibin, deputy director of the Development and Research Center.

China's parcel delivery industry has maintained its resilient growth this year. Some 105 billion parcels were delivered from January to October, up 17 percent year-on-year, the latest figures from the State Post Bureau show.

A total of 639 million parcels were handled on Nov 11 alone, the date of the Double 11 shopping festival.

From Nov 1 to 16, express delivery businesses across China collected roughly 7.77 billion parcels, rising 25.7 percent year-on-year, and a total of 7.51 billion were delivered, surging 30.9 percent compared with the same period the year before.

The global express delivery market will continue to grow, according to Wang, citing the report. The number of parcels handled globally is expected to exceed 200 billion by the end of the year, and revenue to hit 4.3 trillion yuan.

"Innovations such as artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing are widely used in the industry, and the operating efficiency of the industry has seen significant improvement," he said.

China should strengthen its efforts in establishing a global hub network and focus on empowering the industry through digital and intelligent technologies, he added.

International organizations like the Universal Postal Union, a major forum for international cooperation in the postal sector, are trying to speed up the process.

The UPU is working with various stakeholders to unify data to turn the universal postal service into an interconnected delivery superhighway for business-to-consumer supplies, said Walter Trezek, chair of its consultative committee, to create a "win-win-win situation" where designated operators, customs and the entire sector can be interconnected.

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