E-commerce blazes fresh trails
In the face of the impending changes to the micro-climate of trade in China, the emerging theme of e-commerce is being taken into account by members throughout the supply chain – the Big Three carriers included.
Ray Lo says that the transport of perishables via e-commerce will play a major role in the Air China Cargo’s future plans, as the carrier faces a disruption of its dominance of China’s northernmost hub. “Perishable foodstuff is a top product category,” he said. “Therefore, we have to develop our handling capability to process e-commerce cargo as cool chain product.”
China Southern is also looking at a change in dynamics, as express clients will become less dependent on them for international transit as they acquire their own larger aircraft. The carrier has a dedicated department for e-commerce within its cargo division and a partnership with JD.com, and plans to continue to focus on its services between New Zealand, Australia and Asia. Sophie Wang, a spokesperson from the carrier’s cargo division, adding, “The rapid growth of cross-border e-commerce has brought a lot of demand from cross-border airfreight. China Southern Cargo is aware of the potential of it.”
China Eastern Airlines’ plan of action remains unknown for the time being, but it’s likely that it will continue increasing its efforts in e-commerce in its own partnership with JD.com, which was formed in June of last year.
The previously described disruptions likely come as welcome news to forwarders that work with the Big Three, as the increased competition will enable them to be choosier about which carriers they do business with, but for the carriers themselves, the changes mean they have a lot to consider.
In the face of these imminent changes, it’s safe to say that the millions of enthusiastic e-commerce customers dispersed throughout rural China lend a literal significance to the term “new frontier,” as far as the future of commerce is concerned.