High speed railway to deliver goods for Singles Day shopping in Beijing

BEIJING, Nov. 11  High Speed Railway (HSR) trains are joining the battle to deliver goods for the Singles’ Day (Nov. 11) shopping spree, in Beijing from Friday.

According to Beijing Railway Bureau (BRB), four daily trains will be running at 160 km per hour to carry goods from Beijing to Shanghai and Guangdong in the next 10 days, shortening each trip to 15 hours, including loading and unloading time.

“Each train has 15 compartments, and can carry 340 tonnes of goods,” said Zhang Jinchao, deputy director at the BRB logistics center. “A total of 1,837 tonnes of goods have been transported today, with one of the trains carrying goods sold on JD.com and delivered by SF express,” Zhang said Friday.

According to BRB, the center expects to send around 13,500 tonnes of goods and receive 14,000 tonnes during the Nov. 11-20 period, both 80 percent increases compared with a year earlier.

HSR now covers over 500 cities in China, including major cities as well as counties in eastern and central China.

Since the first piece of HSR track was laid in the early 2000s, China’s HSR network has seen average 30 percent annual growth in passenger trips, and the network exceeded 20,000 kilometers long as of September, according to China Railway Corp. The network is expected to reach 38,000 km by 2025.

Sales on Alibaba surpassed 10 billion yuan (about 1.47 billion U.S. dollars) in just six minutes 58 seconds after the Singles’ Day began, almost six minutes ahead of last year, the company said.

According to China Express Association, over one billion packages are estimated to be transported for the Singles’ Day shopping spree, double last year’s figure.

Nearly 14 billion packages were delivered in China in 2014, exceeding the United States for the first time.

“People say that e-commerce in China is a miracle, but in my opinion, the fast development of express services in China is the real miracle,” said Jack Ma, president of the nation’s e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Online shoppers in China reached 447 million by June this year, according to a China Internet Network Information Center report.

“We are selling more goods and delivering them faster. Delivering goods was a headache during Singles’ Day five years ago, but now shoppers can receive what they bought in two or three days,” said Zhang Yong, Alibaba’s CEO.

Cainiao, an express delivery platform using big data, has made it possible for goods to travel faster. Over 70 percent of packages in China use this platform.

“If we don’t try a new method and build a stronger logistics network, online retail will be hindered,” said Tong Wenhong, Cainiao’s CEO.

“Courier services have been renovating the delivery network. Cainiao uses big data to help courier companies optimize the process and improve delivery efficiency,” added Tong.

Over 20 billion packages were delivered last year, using more than 2 million delivery staff. Aliresearch has predicted that the number of packages in China will reach 100 billion in the coming five to eight years.

Social logistics now accounts for nearly 11 trillion yuan (about 1.62 trillion U.S. dollars), accounting for 16 percent of GDP last year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.