The head of the U-Freight Group cites surging logistics demand based on changes in demand patterns resulting from the ongoing growth of e-commerce, including the associated developments in merchandising, warehousing, and distribution patterns.
“It helps justify our company’s early entry and on-going investment to meet the ever-increasing challenges of providing logistics services to this rapidly expanding sector of global trade,” says Simon Wong, the chief executive officer of the Hong Kong-based international freight forwarding and logistics group.
Wong notes there is currently an explosion in the development of distribution centres, as many traditional importers, exporters and traders now need fulfilment capability because they have shifted more of their business to an e-commerce model.
“At U-Freight, in our development of eCommerce logistics solutions, we are continually trying to address the key issues stemming from increasing volumes of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) eCommerce shipments and the time-sensitivity that is associated with this business.”
Examples of those efforts, he says, include investment in several of the company’s warehouse facilities to enable them to act as complete e-commerce fulfilment centres (EFCs). Over the last few years, U-Freight has opened EFCs across Asia, North America, and Europe, Wong says.
“Currently, one of our logistics hubs in Hong Kong is being modified to convert part of it into a smart warehouse equipped with a fleet of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) and an intelligent racking system so that it can perform as a fully-fledged EFC,” Wong says. The hardware is due to be installed early next month with system implementation by the end of April, he adds.
Meanwhile several of the U-Freight Group’s long-standing partners around the world are modifying their own freight hubs to act as EFCs; the latest of which is in Toronto, Canada.
In addition to hardware investment, the U-Freight Group says it is now a “logistics partner of choice for the growing number of online channels and platforms.” Entrepreneurs are using these platforms to sell their own designs and products, including global e-commerce shipping platforms such as Easyship.
U-Freight is also heavily involved in the Fulfilled by Amazon programme in several countries. And in 2019, the company launched e+Solutions, a bespoke product to assist small businesses with their e-commerce logistics needs.
U-Freight is also fully qualified by China Customs and CIQ (China Inspection and Quarantine) as a licensed Cross-border eCommerce Enterprise and as a Cross-Border eCommerce Logistics Service Provider.
“All of these initiatives are helping us boost efficiency and capture more value, in order to capitalise on the opportunities that are being presented by the ongoing surge in e-commerce volumes,” Wong adds.