A section of the Lanzhou-Haikou Expressway in Gansu province. (Photo provided to China Daily)
Growth of last-mile delivery services should be encouraged, premier says
China will improve the delivery logistics system in rural areas to further facilitate the flow of agricultural produce to urban households, and consumer goods to rural areas, as part of the effort to advance rural vitalization, increase farmers' incomes and unlock rural consumer demand, the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.
"Expanding the logistics services, especially express delivery, to rural areas is an apparent trend. This will both boost rural consumption and sales of agricultural produce," Li said.
Integrated development of e-commerce and delivery logistics in rural areas will be advanced. The Internet Plus approach will be employed to better align urban markets and logistics companies with farm households and farmer cooperatives.
Specialized agricultural products delivery services and cold-chain storage and processing facilities will be developed, which is expected to boost the sales of agricultural produce and especially promote the development of distinct local business sectors in rural areas that have just eliminated poverty.
The efforts to cover all administrative villages with delivery services will be advanced based on local conditions. Faster progress will be made to shore up the infrastructural weak links of rural delivery logistics.
In rural areas of eastern and central China, the role of market forces will be better leveraged, and enterprises will be guided in setting up outlets in villages, to provide better delivery services in rural areas.
In rural areas of western China, postal service providers need to fully play their basic role in the last-mile delivery, and also need to cooperate more closely with sectors such as express delivery and supply and marketing so that delivery services will be extended to cover more villages.
"While adhering to market-oriented methods and competitive development, we should also place greater emphasis on the provision of public services. Support will be provided to improve relevant infrastructure in the rural areas," Li said. "The reform of government functions must be steadily advanced to ensure fair competition."
The reform of government functions in the delivery sector will be deepened, and unwarranted and unnecessary restrictions will be removed. Furthermore, the development of last-mile delivery services in rural areas will be encouraged.
Existing facilities in the villages will be used when developing integrated delivery logistics service stations at village level, to effectively lower the costs of last-mile delivery service in rural areas. Oversight of delivery logistics services will also be strengthened to promote fair competition and protect people's lawful rights and interests.