SF Express, China’s biggest private-sector express company, wants to expand into Europe.
At the Cargo Facts Asia event in Hong Kong in April 2012, George Li Dongqi, President of Shenzhen-based SF Airlines (and VP of parent SF EXPRESS) said the carrier planned to expand its fleet from the then current 25 owned and chartered narrowbody freighters to over 60 units, including widebodies, by 2015 and over 150 by 2021. There were those in the industry who dismissed this as little more than a grandiose dream, but anyone who had been paying attention to the exploding Chinese express was not surprised.
Now, two-and-a-half years later, Mr. Li, in an interview in the South China Morning Post, not only re-confirmed the fleet expansion schedule, but said SF was planning to expand its business into Europe. You can read the Morning Post article, but here are some highlights.
- Mr. Li did not provide a timetable for the move into Europe, but did make clear that by “expand into Europe” SF meant offering a complete express logistics service there. That is, not just flying parcels from China to Frankfurt and handing them off to a European delivery company, but rather that SF aims to offer the full spectrum of express logistics services, including pickup and delivery.
- SF Express will account for 21% of China’s express market this year, with air cargo volume reaching 1 million tonnes. Mr. Li said he expects volume to double to over 2 million tonnes by 2018.
- The company’s air arm, SF Airlines, currently owns 16 freighters and charters 20 more. By 2018 the total of owned and chartered freighters will reach 100.
- SF has been expanding from express delivery to other parts of the supply chain in China, including cold chain and supply chain finance, to provide funding for small and medium enterprises.