(Yicai Global) Dec. 20 -- Widespread smog has recently settled over 17 of China's 23 provinces, as well as several municipalities and autonomous regions, with many gasping under extreme air pollution. Express delivery has also taken a hit. Cainiao Network Technology Co. -- the logistics arm of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA] -- preliminarily projects that 40 to 50 million parcels could be delayed.
Cainiao Network expects delays in express deliveries in the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, as well as Hebei, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan, Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces due to traffic controls imposed because of the dense haze. Since almost all expressways from Hebei to Beijing are closed, this will greatly affect express deliveries in adjacent regions, with an average delay of one-half to one full day. Major courier companies also posted delivery delays today. For example, SF Express Co. said that, from today until tomorrow, express deliveries to and from the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region are expected to be delayed from one-half to two days.
This latest bout of haze is the worst this year, with visibility in many areas of less than three kilometers seriously impacting airports and highways. Stretches of freeways in Beijing, Tianjin and in Hebei province have also closed. Affected cities have adopted odd-even license plate number driving restrictions and similar control protocols.