Hong Kong-based forwarder U-Freight Group is poised to tackle the surging demand for logistics services from ongoing e-commerce growth, including new demand patterns in merchandising, warehousing, and distribution.
It cited analyst reports indicating that increased focus on supply chain resilience and the societal shift to e-commerce are expected to affect the demand for logistics real estate in the coming years.
“It helps justify our company’s early entry and on-going investment to meet the ever-increasing challenges of providing logistics services to this rapidly expanding sector of global trade,” said Simon Wong, chief executive of U-Freight.
Wong noted a trend in the development of distribution centres, as many traditional importers, exporters and traders now need fulfilment capability after shifting most of their business to an e-commerce model.
“At U-Freight, in our development of eCommerce logistics solutions, we are continually trying to address the key issues stemming from increasing volumes of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) eCommerce shipments and the time sensitivity that is associated with this business.
Examples of these efforts include investment in several of the company’s warehouse facilities to enable them to act as complete e-commerce fulfilment centres (EFCs). Over the last few years, U-Freight has opened EFCs across Asia, North America, and Europe.
“Currently, one of our logistics hubs in Hong Kong is being modified to convert part of it into smart warehouse equipped with a fleet of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) and an intelligent racking system so that it can perform as a fully-fledged EFC,” Wong said, adding that the hardware is due to be installed early next month with system implementation by the end of April.
Meanwhile, several of its long-standing partners are modifying their own freight hubs to act as EFCs; the latest of which is in Toronto, Canada.
In addition to hardware investment, U-Freight said it is now a ‘logistics partner of choice’ for the growing number of online channels and platforms. Entrepreneurs are using these platforms to sell their own designs and products, including the likes of Easyship.
U-Freight is heavily involved in the Fulfilled by Amazon programme in several countries, and in 2019 launched a bespoke product to assist small businesses with their e-commerce logistics needs.
The Hong Kong-based forwarder is fully qualified by China Customs and CIQ (China Inspection and Quarantine) as a licensed Cross-border eCommerce Enterprise and as a Cross-Border eCommerce Logistics Service Provider, and all these, Wong concludes, help “boost efficiency and capture more value, in order to capitalise on the opportunities that are being presented by the ongoing surge in e-commerce volumes.”