Mail, logistics, supply chain… new lifelines for society

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A man unloads packages from a ZTO Express delivery vehicle in Beijing. [Photo/Agencies]

When asked who is on their “most popular men” list, most Chinese women will likely say that it’s the delivery guys or couriers who bring the goodies home – all those tightly wrapped boxes and bags of things bought online, whether it’s the latest fashions or incredibly smooth and creamy imported chocolate.

COVID-19 and the resulting contactless requirements have only made delivery people even more popular, despite disruptions to logistics caused by recent outbreaks in Beijing, Shanghai and other parts of the country. A package from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, which would not have taken more than three days to materialize in the normal course, took nearly 20 days to reach me in April, giving me endless moments of anxiety. .

This highlights the importance of logistics in our daily life. Amid the pandemic, urgent product delivery is of paramount importance. Some products can provide quick relief to people in need. It is also crucial for stabilizing industrial production and economic growth, as industrial product logistics accounts for 90% of China’s total logistics.

“Transportation is a key link in logistics, and logistics is a key part of the supply chain. Obstructed circulation and poor logistics will gradually affect the stability of the industrial chain and supply chain as well as the smooth functioning of the national economy,” said He Dengcai, vice president of the Beijing-based China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.

“The logistics system should be treated as important as urban electricity and water supply,” he said.

But, for a variety of reasons, including situations such as COVID-19, China’s logistics industry still faces some challenges.

An industry expert who declined to be named said barriers to cross-regional movement of goods still exist in China, and management issues such as inconsistent rules and inconsistent policy implementation have led to a gap between the cost and efficiency of the Chinese logistics industry and that of developed countries.

As the pandemic has shown, some restrictions on the movement of people and goods have threatened to disrupt supply chains. In some places, freeway exits and gas stations were closed, leaving freight truckers stranded for days on the freeway. Some of them lamented that they had never been to medium or high risk areas.

Central authorities worked in a timely manner to resolve the issues. Last month, they hosted a teleconference to highlight the importance of seamless freight transportation nationwide. They also unveiled a unified national pass system to secure key supplies. The government has issued enough recognized travel permits across the country and ensured that nucleic acid test results received within 48 hours can be used in different regions.

This ensured smooth logistics. For a long-term smooth movement of goods, the country unveiled a guideline to build a unified internal market that calls for efforts to optimize the layout of trade and commerce circulation infrastructure and eliminate market segmentation and local protectionism.

Fu Shaochuan, a professor of system analysis and logistics planning at Beijing Jiaotong University’s School of Economics and Management, said the courier and delivery industry has brought and will continue to bring important contributions to China’s development. Last year, the industry grew 17.5 percent year-on-year, with revenue reaching 1.03 trillion yuan ($152.4 billion).

It is necessary to build a complete and modern logistics system. And the courier industry – it plays a key role in the market for basic resources and services, joins the links of production and consumption, and thus drives development – has become an integral part of the modern logistics system, said Mr. .Fu.

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