21 February 2019

POLICY WATCH: China smartens up national logistics ambitions

If plans don’t miscarry, China will have a “smart” logistics park in every major city. When that would be depends on the speed and efficiency of their roll-out.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic planner, is making sure it has all the bases covered for such an ambitious program. On Oct. 15, the NDRC, together with a host of other government agencies, unveiled a plan that sets the way forward.

Firstly, it will make it easier for logistics park operators to get financing other than from traditional sources such as banks. They will be allowed to tap the equities and bond markets and go into partnerships. Private capital and foreign investment will be encouraged.

Secondly, it will adopt a unified industry standard to improve efficiencies and reduce operating costs. This will especially benefit logistics companies linked to the country’s public transport information platform.

Thirdly, the government will leverage smart technology as part of a broader effort to integrate existing transport and e-commerce networks. The Ministry of Transport has released a consultation document regarding a common standard for sharing information across the industry.

Smart logistics is slowly taking the place of traditional transport, distribution and storage services with advances in technology and data exchanges. For instance, logistics operators are now able to access electronic records on a wide range of data from road networks to warehousing.

In this initiative, several companies have become first movers including Wonders Group, Ningbo Port, COSCO Information & Technology and Zhejiang Transfar Logistic. 

Others from the e-commerce sector have teamed up to establish smart logistics operations, a critical aspect of online retail management and customer experience.

Recently, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and its partners unveiled a plan to develop a logistics business in Shenzhen. The project, which involves investment of 300 billion yuan (US$48 billion), includes construction of similar facilities nationwide to enable parcels in some 2,000 Chinese cities to be delivered within 24 hours of orders being received, Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma said.

– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]


EJ Insight writer

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe