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Deliveries halt despite order

By Zhang Ye (Global Times)

08:44, February 01, 2013

Most domestic express firms are disobeying an order from the State Post Bureau (SPB) and will stop delivering parcels during the upcoming Spring Festival holidays, causing online sales volumes to shrink, Tmall retailers told the Global Times Thursday.

A Chengdu-based retailer surnamed Li, who sells goods on B2C e-commerce platform Tmall, said that Shanghai-based Shentong Express Co has scheduled their suspension for February 4, five days before the official holidays, while Shanghai-based YTO Express plans to stop delivery on February 2 and some small express companies have already halted operation.

Many Tmall retailers have posted announcements on their online stores to inform buyers there will be no delivery during the holidays or even earlier, diminishing customers' desire to shop online and reducing sales volumes, according to Li, who said, "We've recently launched some shopping promotions to compensate for the impending sales reduction."

On January 21, the SPB posted regulations on its website requiring delivery services to operate normally during the Spring Festival holidays. Major express firms, including Shentong, YTO and Yunda Express, pledged Monday on their websites to follow the order. But only SF Express Group and China Post's Express Mail Service (EMS) usually provide year-round service.

"We are required to work during the holidays, but this will be hard to realize in most of Shentong's branches around the country. Making money means nothing compared with going home to celebrate Spring Festival," the head of one Shentong branch in Beijing told the Global Times Thursday on condition of anonymity.

In the Chinese delivery industry, 95 percent of couriers are migrant workers who undoubtedly intend to return home for China's most important festival season, and it will be hard for express firms to operate without them, said Xu Yong, chief advisor of China Express and Logistics Consulting.

Delivery to some remote provinces in northern and northwestern China has already halted and all operations are scheduled to stop on February 5, the Shentong staff member said.

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