With the latest seasonal fruits like lychees and cherries hitting the market, a number of logistics companies have launched special flights to ship the sought-after commodities in a timely manner from Guangdong province to various destinations nationwide.
On June 2, SF Airlines, a subsidiary of Shenzhen-listed SF Holding Co, one of China's largest courier companies by volume of packages delivered and sales revenue, launched direct flights to transfer fruit by air from Zhanjiang, Guangdong, to Beijing and Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
It was the first time that all-cargo routes were launched in Zhanjiang, and the flights can help transport premium fruits from western Guangdong to other regions of China and globally.
Zhanjiang has become a major lychee cultivation area in China. Annual output is about 200,000 metric tons, and annual sales revenue stands at around 2.5 billion yuan ($375 million), according to the local government.
SF said for the lychee season this year, the company has put into operation an additional 120 cold-chain vehicles, as well as over 800 delivery points that are conveniently located for consumers in urban and rural areas. The courier also arranged more than 1,000 temporary employees to help transport the tropical fruit.
SF said it would like to make contributions to rural revitalization by helping transport agricultural products efficiently from Guangdong to other regions of the country.
In the past few years, SF launched several all-cargo routes to transport fruit from Shenzhen and Guangzhou in Guangdong to other cities across the nation. In addition, since May, the company has transported fruit such as cherries and loquats from Xi'an, Shaanxi province, Qingdao, Shandong province, and Chongqing to other cities.
Meanwhile, SF International upgraded its services in Southeast Asian countries, and scheduled more flights to transport fruit from China to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. It also sped up Customs clearance services and helped Chinese companies ship products overseas more efficiently.
"Since late May, we have helped transport lychees from a large number of customers in Guangdong to Singapore and Malaysia. With the approach of the busy season, SF will provide abundant capacity and timely transport services and help transport lychees from China to different regions worldwide," said Gao Ling, director of business development at SF International.
Meanwhile, other major domestic couriers are making more efforts to grow the fruit-transport business. This year, JD Logistics, a unit of Chinese e-commerce giant JD, is transporting fruit using all-cargo flights and other combined means of transport.
Currently, JD Logistics operates fresh cold-chain logistics for business-to-customer networks in more than 300 cities nationwide, and delivery personnel will prioritize the shipment of fresh fruits and vegetables.
JD Logistics said that for cherries－from harvesting to sales－the whole cycle usually lasts three to five days. If the fruit is not sold within the period, the proportion of cherries damaged could be as high as 50 percent, so raising transport and sales efficiency remains a major priority.
In addition, domestic couriers such as Deppon Express and China Post are also competing in the market of transporting fresh fruit from Zhanjiang.