Containers are stored at Ningbo Zhoushan Port, Zhejiang province. (Photo by YAO FENG/CHINA DAILY)
China has unveiled its first five-year plan for the development of a modern logistics sector through 2025, highlighting the need to promote the digital transformation of the sector, enhance the competitiveness of businesses and improve the quality and efficiency of logistics services.
According to the plan released by the General Office of the State Council on Dec 15, the country will prioritize the development of cold chain logistics, promote the use of green packaging materials, and further reduce energy use and emissions in the logistics sector.
Other key measures include improving modern logistics systems by taking steps such as accelerating the digital and smart upgrading of the transportation, storage, delivery and packaging sectors and strengthening weak links in rural areas and cold chain logistics.
China now has the world's largest logistics sector, leading all countries in terms of cargo transport volume and number of shipments. The total revenue of the sector reached 12 trillion yuan ($1.74 trillion) in 2021, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.
Zhang Jiangbo, deputy head of the department of trade at the NDRC, told a news conference on Dec 29 that China's logistics sector is facing challenges, including disparities between eastern and western regions and urban and rural areas in terms of infrastructure and services offered, as well as a relatively small number of logistics businesses that compete globally.
He said the latest five-year-plan has adopted a host of measures to boost the competitive edge of logistics services providers, including efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of services and refine the sector's business environment.
Another focus of the document is to lower the cost of logistics services in general by means such as implementing tax and fee cuts and resolving gridlocks troubling the sector.
The significance of the sector's role in stabilizing the national job market is also emphasized in the plan, as over 50 million people are now employed in logistics-related industries, Zhang said.
The government will strengthen support for the growth of new business models in the sector and encourage job creation, he said, adding that more steps will be taken to protect the legitimate interests of workers.
The policy document also highlighted the need to ramp up the development of international logistics networks, including improving the organization of China-Europe freight train services, moving forward with the development of overseas warehousing and encouraging major logistics providers to improve their global service networks.
Furthermore, China will work toward achieving better alignment in standards for quarantine, inspection, certification and customs clearance with other countries in a bid to boost international logistics services.