Shenzhen's SF Express thinking and acting globally with DHL, FedEx, UPS
CHINESE express providers are expanding their services beyond China's borders, a development almost entirely driven by an explosion of ecommerce in China
CHINESE express providers are expanding their services beyond China's borders, a development almost entirely driven by an explosion of ecommerce in China.
Chinese retail giant Alibaba has now made investments in such logistics and express providers as UK-based Best Logistics, Shanghai's YTO Express and STO Express.
But China's biggest express and courier provider, Shenzhen's SF Express, has expanded its air fleet, joining Alibaba as well as DHL, FedEx and UPS as it penetrates global markets.
As of March 2019, SF Airlines owned 55 freighters, which includes one Boeing 747, eight Boeing 767s, 29 Boeing 757s and 17 Boeing 737s, noted New York's FreightWaves.
Guangzhou-based iiMedia Research says cross-border e-commerce generated CNY7.6 trillion (US$1.1 trillion) in 2018 sales. By 2020, the market research firm New York-based eMarketer projects that one-quarter of the Chinese population will be shopping online for overseas products via cross-border e-commerce websites.
China's Civil Aviation Administration says 7.38 million tonnes of cargo and mail were handled in 2018, 4.6 per cent more than 2017. Alibaba has played a crucial role in this growth by establishing its Cainiao logistics network in partnership with express providers in 2013 and then making it a subsidiary of Alibaba in 2017.
In October, 2018, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings' Atlas Air subsidiary began operating a 747 on an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) basis for SF Express on the transpacific.
In addition, SF Express filed with the US Department of Transportation to operate scheduled cargo service three times per week between Hangzhou and New York for at least one year beginning in September 2019 using its own 747 freighter capacity.
SF Express is also involved with China's European Belt and Road network by air, road and rail, establishing offices in many European countries and relationships with postal and parcel groups such as Lithuania Post and Chronopost.
To support current and future growth, SF Express is building its Hubei International Logistics hub, which will be the central point for its air network.
The hub will include two runways, a 24,000-square metre warehouse, an apron with 124 aircraft parking slots and offices. Operations are expected to begin in 2021 and will target 3.3 million tonnes of cargo by 2030.