The logistics industry serves as a crucial link between production and consumption, ensuring the smooth flow of economic activities. In China, the social logistics sector has experienced a notable rebound, with significant indicators continuously on the rise. Between January and April of this year, China’s social logistics grew by 4.4 percent year-on-year, reaching 107.6 trillion yuan (approximately $15.07 trillion), marking a 0.5 percentage point increase from the first quarter. Moreover, the China Logistics Prosperity Index reached 51.5 percent in May.
These statistics reflect a robust recovery in the Chinese logistics industry throughout this year, with key indicators consistently trending upward. The improvement in the national economy has solidified the positive momentum for the industry’s development, providing substantial support for economic stability, domestic demand expansion, and consumption promotion.
On May 31, at 8:00 pm, China’s mid-year “618” shopping festival commenced. Shortly after placing an order, a resident from Lhoka prefecture in southwest China’s Tibet autonomous region received a smart LCD TV delivered by JD Logistics, the delivery arm of the renowned Chinese e-commerce giant, JD.com. This year, the company strategically positioned pre-sale commodities at thousands of warehouses across more than 300 cities in China, enabling swift delivery of goods immediately after orders are placed.
Customs clearance processes are becoming more efficient. At the Qianwan Container Terminal of Qingdao Port in east China’s Shandong province, a garment manufacturer in Shandong’s Yantai successfully unloaded 17 tons of polyester knitted fabric from a vessel, which was promptly transported to the manufacturer’s factory for production. The implementation of a new monitoring model by customs authorities in Qingdao, incorporating machine inspection and ship-side direct unloading, has streamlined container handling procedures. This innovative approach saves time during customs clearance, leading to reduced logistics costs, according to an executive from a logistics company responsible for the imported fabric.
The accelerated recovery of China’s logistics sector is evident from the rising volume of express deliveries and the bustling cargo ships frequenting ports. By May 31 this year, China’s courier sector had surpassed 50 billion parcels, achieving this milestone 27 days earlier than in 2022. In the first four months of 2023, the country’s commercial freight volume increased by 7.5 percent year-on-year, reaching 16.53 billion tons, while the cargo throughput at ports across the nation stood at 5.28 billion tons, a 7.6 percent increase compared to the previous year.
According to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP), the total revenue of the logistics industry rose by 7.5 percent year-on-year in the first four months, surpassing the first-quarter figure by 0.8 percentage points. Notably, more than 5 percentage points of this growth can be attributed to the transportation and warehousing services, as well as the express delivery sector.
Zhou Zhicheng, a researcher with the CFLP and deputy head of the China Society of Logistics, stated, “Policies aimed at expanding domestic demand have taken effect, integrating online and offline consumption scenarios. Instant logistics services have connected restaurants, supermarkets, florists, and pharmacies in neighborhoods, thereby further stimulating community consumption.”
The continuous progress of digital transformation has also enriched the commercial application scenarios of intelligent logistics. For instance, a smart control system has been launched at a port in Tianjin municipality in north China, enabling customs authorities to remotely monitor berthing and cargo handling in real time. This system facilitates shared vessel usage between foreign and domestic trade cargos, boosting the efficiency of domestic feeders and enabling the launch of 10 new domestic trade routes, according to Sun Yan, an executive with the port, highlighted the positive impact of the smart control system on both foreign and domestic trade. Furthermore, the integration of Internet, big data, cloud computing, and Internet of Things technologies has given rise to new logistics business models, providing robust support for the stable recovery of the industry.
At an international express parcel distribution center in Shenzhen, parcels from overseas seamlessly passed through smart CT equipment for customs clearance, while trucks loaded with packages hurriedly made their way to destinations across the country. The executive of SF Express, a prominent Chinese multinational delivery services and logistics company based in Shenzhen, emphasized the significance of fast and efficient delivery in the courier industry. The company’s foreign trade volume via cross-border e-commerce surged nearly 50 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, thanks to innovative upgrades implemented by relevant departments.
Logistics companies are currently optimistic about the sector’s development, which continues to exhibit strong recovery momentum. China aims to further enhance its business environment, accelerate scientific and technological innovation, and foster stable and sound growth in the logistics industry. These efforts are crucial for safeguarding the security and stability of industrial and supply chains.
In conclusion, China’s logistics industry has experienced a remarkable revival, driven by a rebound in key indicators and the nation’s improving economic landscape. With the optimization of business environments, technological advancements, and the integration of intelligent logistics solutions, the future of China’s logistics sector appears promising, ensuring efficient and seamless operations to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving economy.