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Courier services gear up for Singles' Day shopping craze

CHINA'S courier services are planning ahead to cope with Singles' Day, an annual e-commerce shopping spree in China that falls on Friday.

Alibaba's Cainiao logistics network forecast that the industry will handle 1.05 billion packages for Singles' Day this year, up 35 percent year on year.

Singles' Day eclipses its U.S. equivalents Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On November 11 last year, Alibaba saw 13.5 billion U.S. dollars worth of goods paid for on its online payments platform.

Courier services have been renovating their delivery network capable of covering long-distance and huge volumes.

Wang Wenbin, chief technology officer of Cainiao, said the company has adopted a series of new digital solutions to help monitor, distribute and trace e-commerce deliveries.

"The new technogy helps capture and collect orders from certain regions so that logistics firms can arrange the distribution and loading facilities to improve efficiency by at least 10 hours," Wang said.

China courier firm Yunda Express said the company has added 10,000 delivery vehicles to cope with the extra demand.

The company's logistic center in Shanghai has installed a 200-meter automatic line to "smart sort" the packages.

Delivery staff have become the most wanted resources across the sector. Nearly all major delivery firms have put out recruitment notices ahead of the shopping spree. The monthly salary offered for delivery staff is between 5,000 yuan (US$739) and 8,000 yuan, on par with salaries for university graduates.

Couriers are in short supply especially at busy times and during major Chinese holidays such as Spring Festival.

Gao Zhenhai, secretary general of the Shanghai Express Industry Association, said online shopping revenue has shown explosive growth around Singles' Day, when millions of packages need to be delivered to shoppers in a few days, which is an enormous challenge for courier services.

Singles' Day purchases last year amounted to 780 million packages. The maximum daily deliveries handled by courier services reached 160 million.

China's railway transport network has opened special services to help courier services cope with the shopping spree this year.

China Railway has launched an "E-Commerce Golden Week" service to facilitate express services. From November 11 to 20, high-speed passenger trains with speeds between 160 and 300 km per hour will provide express services. The service reaches 505 cities.

The Guangzhou Railway (Group) Corp. has signed with express firms, JD Express, SF Express, STO Express and YT Express, to provide three daily train trips linking south China's manufacturing center Shenzhen with Beijing from November 11 to 20.


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