Digitization boosts logistics efficiency in times of pandemic

A Fung Group employee transfers goods at the company’s logistics facilities in Thailand. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Facing multiple challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s logistics industry is embracing digital technologies to increase efficiency.

The efforts are in line with the central government’s call to support the construction of third-party logistics delivery digital platforms and cultivate a batch of digital platforms and supply chain enterprises with global influence.

Full Truck Alliance Co Ltd, one of China’s leading trucking companies, for example, is stepping up efforts to leverage digital technologies to help increase logistics efficiency in pandemic-affected regions.

Known as Manbang in Chinese, Full Truck Alliance’s apps connect large numbers of truck drivers with traders who need to ship their goods, which can help truck drivers find goods quickly and reduce empty loading rate and fuel consumption.

The company’s two trucking apps, Truck Alliance and Yunmanman, operate “green channels” for owners of anti-epidemic and agricultural products to deliver their goods to people in need. Their shipping requests are prioritized in the apps. For those in areas facing a severe shortage of transport capacity, the apps will dispatch nearby truck drivers using freight subsidies to help shippers fulfill delivery orders as soon as possible.

Knowing that agricultural products from some rural areas are finding it difficult to move goods from villages to cities amid the pandemic, Manbang is also offering targeted logistics assistance to 160 counties across the country to help rural residents who need to transport their agricultural products.

Tao Ran, vice president of Manbang Group, which serves about a fifth of the country’s truck drivers with companies covering more than 300 cities nationwide, said the company hopes to create a “digital highway” for remote areas by maximizing transport resources on its platform.

“We hope more truckers can see the shipment orders from rural areas, to help agricultural products get out of farmland and increase sales with good logistics services,” Tao said.

Fu Jing, sales manager of an e-commerce platform in Liupanshui, Guizhou Province, said, “The cherries from the mountainous areas are of good quality, and there are a lot of orders from Beijing and Shanghai, but we dare not accept them because it is difficult to find cold chain trucks locally.”

In April, a large number of local cherries were ripe, but due to imperfect logistics and transportation, many of them could not be shipped to cities.

“It’s not that good things can’t be sold, but they can’t be shipped. When our fresh cherries hit the market, they could sell for 60 to 80 yuan ($8.88 to $11.84) per kilogram in major cities like Beijing. and Shanghai. But if they were sold locally, the price is less than half,” Fu said.

Manbang said it provides targeted assistance for eligible agricultural products such as cherries, and will operate the green channel for agricultural products in counties and rural towns for a long time.

Fu Shaochuan, a professor of logistics system analysis and planning at Beijing Jiaotong University’s School of Economics and Management, said more efforts are needed to build a smarter logistics service network. and more efficient, in particular by accelerating the construction of a cold network. chain express delivery system.

It is also necessary to strengthen the emergency response capacity of express delivery services. During emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, urgent delivery of products is of paramount importance not only to provide quick relief to people in need, but also to restore social order, Mr. Fu.

In April, the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council jointly issued a guideline on accelerating the establishment of a unified domestic market, according to which China will optimize the layout of traffic infrastructure. commercial and commercial and promote the integration of online and offline development. .