Delivery workers load parcels of products bought by online shoppers on Singles Day onto a bullet train in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on Nov 11. China Railway Corp has said 170 high-speed trains will be used to help e-commerce platforms deliver goods between Nov 11 and 20.[Photo by Su Yang/China Daily]
China’s high-speed rail carrier is helping couriers ensure online shoppers who took advantage of Singles Day discounts on Nov 11 are not left waiting for their bargains.
China Railway Corp, which manages the network, said 170 of its bullet trains will be used for express delivery between Nov 11 and 20, stopping at 505 cities, to answer the growing demand for logistics services.
Singles Day is the world’s largest online shopping festival. E-commerce giant Alibaba’s retail platform, Tmall, said it had received 657 million orders on Nov 11 worth a total of more than 120 billion yuan ($17.6 billion).
An estimated 1 billion parcels will be shipped by rail to bargain-hunters this year, double the 2015 figure, according to the China Express Association, CRC’s delivery arm.
“China’s high-speed rail network now covers more than 20,000 kilometers and stops in most major cities,” said Huang Jian, the association’s marketing director. “The network is fast, efficient and has great capacity.”
He added that the use of bullet trains this year will become the norm for the logistics industry.
“We will use the railways to transport 2,400 metric tons of goods between Nov 11 and 20,” said Gu Qian, a publicity officer with SF Express, a major courier service. “We will use 149 out of 170 bullet trains allocated for delivery.”
Beijing’s railway bureau said four daily high-speed services will carry goods from the capital to Shanghai and Guangdong province over the 10 days, shortening each journey by up to 15 hours, including loading and unloading times.
“Each train has 15 compartments and can carry 340 tons,” said Zhang Jinchao, deputy director of the bureau’s logistics center.
According to data he provided, the center expects to send about 13,500 tons of goods and receive 14,000 tons by Nov 20, both increasing 80 percent compared with last year.
Over 20 billion packages were delivered by all logistics channels last year, and Alibaba’s research department predicts the number will reach 100 billion in the coming five to eight years.
The commercial logistics industry is worth nearly 11 trillion yuan and accounted for 16 percent of GDP last year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.