China’s delivery companies have hired around 400,000 extra staff as they step up preparations for the country’s massive Double 11 shopping festival, Bian Zuodong, deputy chief of the State Post Bureau’s market supervision unit, said during a Wednesday interview.
The industry expects to deliver 2.8 billion parcels both domestically and internationally during the festival’s peak period, which runs from Nov. 11 to Nov. 18, Bian said. During that time, China’s couriers will deliver roughly 350 million parcels per day, more than twice its normal workload, he added.
Wage hikes associated with labor shortages are key challenges to the health of the country’s couriers, Bian said. “Price wars” between players in the hypercompetitive sector further squeeze the margins of delivery companies, he added.
Many of the 400,000 additional workers, some of whom are relatives of full-time delivery staff, have been hired on short-term contracts to help companies make it through the peak shopping season, according to Bian. The industry has also added new parcel-sorting centers and more than 3,000 automatic sorting machines, he said.
Some 75,000 facilities across the country will recycle waste packaging in a bid to reduce the event’s environmental impact, Bian added.
Boosted by major e-commerce events, China’s delivery industry booked total revenues of 527.1 billion yuan ($75.3 billion) in the first three quarters this year, up 24.1% from the same period last year, the State Post Bureau said. Over the same period, the industry delivered 43.9 billion parcels at a slightly lower average delivery fee than last year.