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Xinhua Silk Road
Facility Connectivity

China to build 30 national logistics hubs by 2020

December 12, 2019


Abstract : China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Transport recently confirmed that the first batch of 23 logistics hubs has been listed in the construction of national logistics hubs and that China will build about 30 national logistics hubs by 2020.

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Today, China's express delivery sector sees ever faster delivery of goods. This high-speed delivery is contributed not only by the hard-working express couriers, but also by a developed logistics network.

In a joint statement, China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Transport recently confirmed that the first batch of 23 logistics hubs has been listed in the construction of national logistics hubs and that China will build about 30 national logistics hubs by 2020.

-- Why build national logistics hubs

The national logistics hub is designed to be a comprehensive logistics hub, capable of radiating wider surrounding areas, with stronger agglomeration effect, better service function and higher operation efficiency. It plays a role of crucial node, important platform and backbone in the national logistics network, according to the statement.

In recent years, China's logistics industry has developed rapidly, with a number of hubs having taken shape nationwide. However, these logistics hubs are still insufficient to support the logistics industry to step into a higher stage.

Zhao, a post-90s courier, is a native of Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, who has been engaged in the logistics industry in his hometown for 7 years.

"Yiwu is known as the world's largest small items market which sells goods of good quality at reasonable prices. Many people live on import and export trade. There are even more foreigners than Chinese on the streets, and the logistics here is also prosperous," said Zhao.

However, in Zhao's view, although Yiwu is already a logistics hub with considerable scale and international reputation, it also faces such problems of outdated logistics infrastructure and inefficiency. "The roads are congested, the surroundings is dirty and messy, and the logistics operations are not in perfect order," Zhao said.

Logistics enterprises have more to say on this situation. Li Jingquan, chief engineer of CMSTD Nanjing Intelligent Logistics Technology Co., Ltd., said that the logistics industry is still facing the situation of small-scale, fragmented, disordered and poor operation, as well as low utilization efficiency of transportation resources and high logistics cost for enterprises.

The planning and construction of the national logistics hub is targeting these problems. "The national logistics hub is a catalyst for coordination between transportation and industry, a binding agent for seamless connection of various modes of transportation and an accelerator for intensive integration of logistics resources," said an official of the comprehensive planning department of the Ministry of Transportation.

The construction of national logistics hubs will be implemented in three stages. By 2020, about 30 national logistics hubs with strong radiation capability, modern operation and close interconnection will be built. By 2025 about 150 hubs will be constructed and during 2026-2035, a national logistics hub network suitable for the modern economic system will take shape.

-- How the first 23 hubs are selected

"The distribution of the first batch of national logistics hubs is generally balanced in terms of region and type," said an official of the economic and trade department of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Regarding the regional distribution, among the 23 national logistics hubs, 10 are situated in the east, 5 in the central region, 7 in the west, and 1 in the northeast region.

Yang Xuefu, a semi-trailer truck driver, has been traveling between various logistics hubs for years. He found that 12 hubs in the list are located in the central and western regions.

"Logistics in the central and western regions rely mainly on road transportation. The government attaches great importance to the construction of logistics hubs in these regions, which is good for drivers," he said.

As for types, the 23 hubs cover land port, water port, airport, production services, trade services and land border port.

Port-based national logistics hubs include maritime ports such as Tianjin and Zhoushan, as well as inland waterway ports such as Nanjing and Chongqing, while land port national hubs cover several important provincial capitals in the central and western regions.

Zhao is very excited that Yiwu has been selected as a trade and service-oriented national logistics hub. In his view, this will directly benefit those involved in the logistics sector like him.

With regard to the regional endowment, not only emerging cities such as Yingkou, Linyi and Ganzhou are selected as national logistics hubs, but also economically developed cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, and land border ports such as Erenhot in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

-- How to build

Chen Fangjian, a researcher at Hubei Material Circulation Technology Institute, said that the national logistics hubs should be built with multi-modal transportation function and capable of driving regional economic development, and the compatibility between existing logistics infrastructure should be improved to create an efficient, unimpeded and convenient logistics transportation network.

And those who are engaged in logistics industry pay more attention to whether the cost can be really cut. Yang said that many large logistics hubs are equipped with insufficient supporting facilities and charge high fees.

The statement proposes to step up efforts to develop multi-modal transport and trailer transportation, especially "to support qualified national logistics hubs to establish 'public trailer pools'."

Wang Jixiang, vice chairman of China Logistics Technology Association pointed out that the worst way to build logistics hubs is to make them just centers for goods circulation, rather than trade centers or industrial centers. 

"Through large networks, large channels, complete chains and new models, economic factors should converge at a certain place as planned, guided by industrial factor aggregation, industrial chain cultivation, industrial system service and national industrial policy, so as to eventually form an economic development model," Wang said. (Edited by Yang Qi; source: People’s Daily Overseas Edition)

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