Record-breaking 120 billionth parcel mirrors vigor of Chinese economy

December 20, 2023
Updated 2023/12/20 at 9:49 AM
5 Min Read

On Dec. 4, 2023, the State Post Bureau’s express delivery big data platform presented a constant flow of numbers on a large screen. At 6:26 p.m., the screen suddenly flickered and froze, revealing the number, “120,000,000,000.”

At that precise moment, a package containing flowers was dispatched from Kunming, the capital city of southwest China’s Yunnan Province, to Chengdu, capital city of southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

This aerial photo taken on Nov. 8, 2023 shows robots sorting and conveying parcels at an intelligent logistics center in Deqing County, east China’s Zhejiang Province. (Xinhua/Ni Lifang)

This momentous occasion marked a historic milestone as China’s annual express volume surpassed 120 billion packages for the first time, a historic record.

The figure of 120 billion packages represents approximately 63 percent of the global express package volume from the previous year, roughly 5.5 times the volume of the U.S., 13.3 times that of Japan, and 23.5 times that of the U.K., from the previous year. China has emerged as the primary force in the growth of the global express industry.

During the first 11 months of 2023, China achieved an average monthly express volume of 10.7 billion packages, surpassing the combined annual volume of Germany and the U.K. from the previous year. The country’s express volume growth rate continues to maintain a leading position, approximately three times that of the global average.

China’s monthly express volume growth has exceeded the total volume for the entire 2014, indicating a remarkable increase from an average of 10 billion packages per year, to an average of 10 billion packages per month.

Since 2021, when China’s express delivery industry handled 100 billion packages, the time it had taken to surpass 100 billion packages each year had been consistently decreasing.

In 2022, this milestone was achieved seven days earlier than in 2021, and in 2023, it surpassed the previous year’s record by 39 days.

The 120 billionth express package this year was sent from the Kunming Dounan Flower Market, the largest flower market in Asia.

Mu Shunlin, the owner of the flower shop that sent out the flowers, said the flower market previously encountered difficulties in selling flowers to wholesalers at competitive prices.

However, with the advent of a livestream base, the market has embraced online sales and express delivery services. This approach not only guarantees the freshness of the flowers but also increases the sellers’ income.

In the first 10 months of 2023, China’s online retail sales reached 12.3 trillion yuan ($1.72 trillion), a year-on-year increase of 11.2 percent.

The collaboration between logistics and e-commerce proved pivotal in the delivery of the 120 billionth package, resulting in an increase in package volume and consumer demand.

The 120 billionth package signifies the ongoing growth of China’s consumption and the rapid unleashing of domestic demand. It also highlights the continuous enhancement of the industry infrastructure and the accelerated pace of industrial upgrading.

Transporting the 120 billionth package utilized high-speed rail freight, completing the entire delivery process in just 21 hours.

Chinese express delivery and Chinese high-speed rail, two prominent “calling cards” of the country, collaborated in the delivery of the 120 billionth package, serving as a vivid representation of the rapid advancement and modernization of the express delivery industry.

The current logistics network of express delivery consists of over 400 specialized logistics parks and more than 3,000 distribution centers. These facilities cover a vast one-way distance of over 48.7 million kilometers, and serve an average of over 700 million individuals daily.

There are over 900 county-level postal distribution centers and 278,000 village-level postal service outlets, ensuring the comprehensive coverage in towns and villages. This extensive network plays a crucial role in facilitating the swift circulation of over 100 million packages in rural areas each day.

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