Alibaba-backed Shanghai YTO Express (Logistics) Co, China’s third largest express-delivery company is planning to introduce at least three widebody freighters to its fleet in 2018 as it seeks to expand its international delivery operations, its chairman said on Monday, according to a China Daily report.
YTO Express chairman,Yu Weijiao said the freighters will support the company’s overseas parcel delivery service, cross-border e-commerce business and temperature-controlled supply-chain delivery services. YTO Express delivered 3.3 billion parcels and documents domestically last year, a 30 per cent rise over the year before.
“There is growing demand for fast and efficient international express services between Chinese manufacturers and foreign buyers, especially in emerging markets such as Africa, the Middle East and South America,” Yu was quoted as saying. The Hangzhou-based company also aims to help high-tech Chinese companies such Lenovo Group Ltd, ZTE Corporation and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd ship more products and parts to these fast-growing emerging markets.
YTO is currently preparing an application for the supplementary international operations, which it will file with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) by the end of August. Although no mention has been made of what type of aircraft these three widebodies might be, industry sources have suggested the most likely first step into widebody freighter operations would be with B767s. YTO currently operates two B737-300Fs, and charters five additional freighters, in addition to utilising belly space on domestic passenger aircraft.
In February of this year, the company placed a firm launch order for ten B737-800BCFs from Boeing, with options for 10 more. The first of these will only be delivered in 2018, but YTO will continue to add B737 Classics to its fleet. The carrier is said be targeting eight aircraft in its own livery by the end of this year.
With a staff of more than 260,000 employees, 32,000 vehicles and 82 transit centres in more than 100 Chinese cities, YTO Express is the third Chinese express shipping company to have its own freighters, along with China Post’s EMS and SF Express.
YTO Express opened branches in South Korea, Japan and Russia and Zimbabwe earlier this year, and plans to set up a total of 18 regional branches with warehouse and transit centers in priority markets such as Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates by the end of the year.
“Many opportunities come from Chinese consumers’ soaring purchasing power and their application of information technology, as well as urbanisation, which have pushed the country’s express delivery sector onto a par with more sophisticated and segmented markets,” said Yu in the China Daily report.