Chinese private logistics giant S.F. Express Co Ltd has pledged to build the busiest air cargo hub in Asia, reaching areas accounting for 80% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product within two hours, including major cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
The firm said it would construct an airport in Ezhou city, Hubei province in central China, that could handle more than 2.6 million tonnes of freight and 1.5 million passengers by 2025. The airport would be the fourth busiest in the world and could cater for all jets except the Airbus’ superjumbo A380.
The joint venture in charge of building the air hub has an investment capital of 100 million yuan (US$14.4 million). The venture will be responsible for the design, construction as well as the operation and management of the mega development project.
A unit of S.F. Express – S.F. Airport Investment – and China VAST Industrial Urban Development Company have contributed 40 million yuan and 60 million yuan, respectively, to set up the joint venture.
S.F. Airport Investment had invested 470 billion yuan in VAST late last year.
S.F. Express, founded in 1993, is the largest private courier in China, and started building its own fleet in 2009. As of November 30, it owned a fleet of 36 aircraft, according to the company’s website.
China’s logistics industry has boomed following the development of e-commerce giants, such as Alibaba’s Taobao. In 2016, more than 250 million people used courier services each day, according to the state Xinhua news agency.
At the annual Singles’ Day e-commerce sale last year on November 11, postal services handled 251 million parcels, a 52% increase compared to 2015, according to another Xinhua news report. S.F. Express even rented high-speed trains to ensure punctual delivery of goods.
The new airport project is part of an aero city mega development, spanning an area of 36 square kilometers, for a population of only a million.