Next up was STO Express. While STO and other Chinese couriers offer local contractors the option to operate franchise locations within their networks, the Cargo Facts package was shipped from an STO-owned location, rather than a franchise. The STO experience was more tech-forward than China Postal, as the employee confirmed the shipping rate electronically using their computer system, but it was not automated and required manual searching through the computer system. The STO employee printed out a single waybill that was attached to the package, and informed us the shipment would reach its Seattle destination in about one week. We spent ten minutes there, and the shipment cost 150 RMB – the lowest price and shortest wait among the three companies.
Unlike its peers, YTO Express and SF Express, Shanghai-based Shentong Express (STO) has not yet invested in a domestic freighter fleet of its own. Instead, STO has trialed using Hong Kong as an international consolidation hub for cross-border shipments. In recent years STO has chartered 747F flights from Azerbaijan-based Silk Way West Airlines’ Italian subsidiary, SW Italia for shipments between Europe and Asia.
Less is known about the air partners STO uses to move shipments between Hong Kong and the US. STO Express did open its first warehouse in the United States back in 2015 in New York, and has since opened a second warehouse in California.