A courier sorts through a sea of packages in a storehouse. (Photo: Agencies)
Couriers are expected to experience their busiest period of the year this week after the Singles Day shopping spree ended on Monday.
The postal authority estimated that postal and courier companies are expected to handle 2.8 billion parcels between Monday and Nov 18.
On Monday alone, the express delivery industry across the country handled a record 535 million deliveries-a year-on-year increase of 28.6 percent, the State Post Bureau said on Tuesday.
To ease the mounting pressure on the delivery people, companies have hired an additional 400,000 workers and 120,000 vehicles, as well as 3,000 sets of sorting devices.
With rural shoppers outpacing their urban counterparts in online retail purchases in past years, the bureau has established delivery outlets in 96 percent of the townships across the country.
Wei Zheng, 26, a deliveryman with SF Express in Beijing, has been using two phones to send delivery updates and answer calls at the same time.
"It's the busiest time of the whole year, and we need to deliver almost three times the usual number," he said, adding that he stands to earn a handsome bonus from the weeklong rush. "Days will feel extremely long. We have to run full speed all day long to deliver packages on time."
With environmentalists warning about the huge amount of packaging produced during the delivery process, the bureau said it has stepped up efforts to reduce secondary packaging, promote digital waybills and recycle environmentally friendly materials.
Alibaba's courier and logistics affiliate Cainiao Network has teamed up with five courier companies, including STO, Yunda and Best Express, to establish over 180 recycling stations in major cities to collect reusable packaging material.
Customers are encouraged to leave cardboard packing materials at dispatch points and delivery stations. Courier staff will help sort out plastic bags, which are residual waste, while cartons are recyclable waste.