A visitor checks out the autonomous case-handling robotic system presented at the booth of Hai Robotics during a logistics expo in Shanghai in June 2021. (PHOTO/CHINA DAILY)
Further modernized system seen as key to propelling development amid COVID
China's intensified efforts to build a modern logistics system will help facilitate the smooth flow of products and resources, boost economic circulation and stabilize growth amid downward pressure, officials and experts said.
They said the construction of a modern and efficient logistics system will help improve quality, boost effectiveness and reduce costs of logistics, playing a key role in building a national unified market and helping develop China's new "dual-circulation" development pattern.
Their comments came as China's logistics sector regained momentum in September with a gradual recovery in market demand and the normalization of business activities.
Data from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed the index tracking China's logistics market performance stood at 50.6 in September versus 46.3 in August, returning to expansion territory after two consecutive months of contraction.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that number reflects contraction.
Zhang Jiangbo, deputy director of the Department of Trade at the National Development and Reform Commission, spoke highly of the government's measures to ensure smooth logistics and its accelerated push for building a modern logistics system, saying it helps to stabilize the overall economy and promote healthy development amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zhang told a forum recently that logistics is a strategic industry that supports the development of the national economy and meets people's basic needs.
Citing a plan to build a modern distribution system during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), Zhang said the country will ramp up efforts to build modern logistics infrastructure networks, improve the quality of logistics services and foster new businesses and models for logistics.
By 2025, the distribution of commodities and resource elements will be smoother, trade and logistics facilities will be improved, and the domestic and international distribution networks and service systems will become more complete, according to the plan released by the NDRC in January.
The plan shows a modern distribution system that is safe, reliable and highly efficient with a global reach, and will be fully established by 2035.
Seeing new development opportunities arising from building a modern logistics system, He Liming, chairman of the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, said more efforts should be made to promote the digital transformation of industrial and supply chains, boost the development of smart upgrading for logistics, promote the deep integration of logistics and manufacturing, spur the development of smart logistics and encourage more domestics enterprises to develop business in the global market.
Huang Hai, former assistant minister of commerce, said China should give full play to the role of a modern logistics system in supporting dual-circulation development.
Looking ahead, Huang said the country should promote the digitalization of the logistics sector, develop both online and offline businesses and foster new business models in the coming few years.
Huang's views were echoed by Wang Qing, deputy director of the institute of the market economy at the Development Research Center of the State Council, who said China is embracing a new stage in which the country needs to upgrade its logistics system.
Having noticed that China's consumer-focused internet is gradually transforming into a more business-oriented internet, Wang said the modern logistics system will become key in supporting the country's economic transition and industrial restructuring, and it will also help prop up innovation-driven growth.
Though China witnessed considerable progress in the development of logistics, the country now faces pressure from the pandemic and changes in the international environment, said Li Yanlin, deputy director of the modern logistics research center at the China Academy of Transportation Sciences.
Looking ahead, Li said logistics enterprises should pursue new opportunities in the global market and further engage in the construction of logistics bases in the domestic market, and thus play a bigger role in ensuring smooth supply chains and fostering high-quality development.