Daredevil Couriers Gear Up for China's Singles' Day
Yicai Global
/SOURCE : Yicai
Daredevil Couriers Gear Up for China's Singles' Day

Delivery staff in Jiangsu province, Nanjing delivering goods from e-commerce sites by e-bike on May 23, 2013.

This year will mark the eighth China Singles' Day Event. It is predicted that last year's record will be smashed with the number of express parcels destined for lonely hearts likely to total 1.05 billion, up by 35 percent from last year. For these major express companies, after years of experience of the Singles' Day Event, they have made sufficient upgrades to their logistics systems. Nevertheless, they are still faced with great pressure from the last-kilometer delivery problem, where they have to navigate places that are less mapped by GPS systems or have changed recently.

A laden deliveryman delivering parcels in the snow, Dec. 31, 2014 in Qingdao.

An express delivery operator said full-time employees are always in regular demand and they have employed around 1000 staff since August, while recruiting over 3,000 part-time staff including hourly workers, short-term workers and students hoping to support themselves by hard work. Previously the remuneration for these casual laborers for SF-express was by shift, now because of the upcoming online shopping bonanza, it will be piece work, so the more parcels they deliver, the more they are paid.

Staff of STO-Express courier service busy sorting parcels and furiously pasting address labels on parcels to be delivered from e-commerce sites.

The accuracy of manual sorting is around 95 percent, with 10 million parcels to be delivered each day, 500, 000 of them may be mistakenly delivered. With the cost of each parcel at CNY2, CNY1 million may be lost each day. Fortunately, employing an automatic sorting assembly line enables the accuracy to reach almost 100 percent.

On Nov. 12, 2014 in Jiaxing, deliveryman Zhou Zhengxin was running around high streets and back lanes in Wangjing Town, Xiuzhou District, Jiaxing City, Zhejiang with his van chock full of parcels bought by customers during the Singles' Day event. The parcels filling up the van almost flattened the tires.

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