Royal Mail’s European parcels business, General Logistics Systems (GLS), has partnered with Chinese express delivery company ZJS to launch a new China-to-Europe business-to-business parcel delivery service.
The new service, branded as Euro Business Parcel in China, will be positioned as a “value-for-money” alternative to current premium international B2B express delivery options.
In particular, it will mean a lower cost service suitable for shipments that may be less time-sensitive than those requiring rapid transport at premium prices.
Currently, the company said much of the China B2B parcel export market is largely made up of premium express companies offering delivery within two-to-three days.
Royal Mail said the GLS Euro Business Parcel service will offer transit times of between three and five working days. The company is also promising full end-to-end tracking for shipments and “world-class” customer service.
Parcels are expected to be shipped to Europe on air routes between the major Chinese trading centres of Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzhen and on the European side London or Frankfurt.
The service goes live in North China later this month, and rolls out to the East and South of the country in September and October, the company told Post&Parcel today.
The British postal operator said offering Chinese businesses a new gateway for parcels into Europe was part of its strategy to grow its GBP 4.2bn parcel business, which currently accounts for 48% of Group revenues and is one of the two biggest priorities, along with marketing mail, for Royal Mail to seek growth.
China accounts for 17.3% of the total EU imports market at present, with its exports to Europe growing almost 50% in the last five years according to EU Commission trade data.
Mark Thomson, managing director international for Royal Mail Group, said: “China is a key trading partner for Europe. The China-to-Europe parcels market is growing rapidly.
“Last year, China was the biggest exporter of goods to the EU. This presents us with a great opportunity to link our European operations with ZLS Express’ network for the benefit of Chinese businesses exporting to Europe,” added Thomson.
The new partnership will see ZJS operating the Chinese end as a GLS global partner, with Amsterdam-based GLS operating in Europe and Royal Mail’s Parcelforce Worldwide unit acting as delivery provider in the UK.
Royal Mail said the alliance meant it was well-positioned to benefit from the significant and ongoing growth in ecommerce business.
ZJS has been operating since 1994, providing seven-day collections with a network of 3,000 locations and workforce of 20,000 people.
Chen Xianbao, president of ZJS, said: ZJS Express has a well-established, trusted reputation for providing high quality next-day and two-day parcel service in China across provinces, cities, counties and districts from remote outposts such as Huoerguosi Post in Xingjing to great cities such as Shanghai and Xi’an.
“This cooperation now enables us to meet our customers’ demands to extend our high quality service to major European countries.”
Last year Royal Mail’s parcel businesses, including Royal Mail itself, GLS and Parcelforce, handled 1.2bn parcels, with a total annual revenue of GBP 4.2bn. GLS itself generated GBP 1.6bn revenue in 2011, with its parcel volumes growing 3% compared to the year before.
GLS currently employs 13,400 people, covering 42 European countries through wholly-owned and partner companies.
Source: Post&Parcel/Royal Mail Group