YTO Express, one of China’s largest and fast expanding express companies which was founded in 2000 under the umbrella of the Shanghai YTO Jialong Investment Development Ltd, has come a long way in almost two decades of operation. Supported by YTO Express Airlines, the company has established itself as a leading mainland China express delivery giant.
New hub in Jiaxing
They recently announced that they plan to build a new hub at Jiaxing Airport which is situated in the Zhejiang province. Jiaxing is often referred to as Shanghai’s third airport due to its proximity to Shanghai city. The logistics centre is expected to cost up to US$1.8 billion and construction of the first phase which will cover 80 hectares and cost US$1.03 billion, will start later this year.
YTO Express is aiming at opening up services there by 2021 and states that it will be able to handle 50 freighter aircraft and by 2030 have a throughput of 1.1 million tonnes per annum. Further planned expansion of Jiaxing by the year 2050 would enable an annual cargo and mail throughput capacity of 2.4 million tonnes each year.
Cainiao, YTO Express and the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) plan to open a new logistics centre in Hong Kong with 380,000 square meter capacity for air cargo. Cainiao will hold 51%, YTO 14% and CNAC 35%.
International expansion is high on the list
YTO Express, with a staff of 24,000 and whose services include warehousing, distribution and special transport, also have their eyes firmly fixed on expansion outside of mainland China. For this purpose, they set up their new international business office in Hong Kong and are busy looking at acquiring companies in South East Asia.
The Alibaba backed company has made no secret of the fact that further expansion in the direction of Europe is something which must come in the future if they are to establish themselves as an international express organisation. In order to accomplish this, they then need to have their sister company, YTO Express Airlines, operating with long-haul freighters.
YTO cargo fleet expanding fast
CargoForwarder Global reported in July of last year that YTO Express Airlines would add B757 freighters to their fleet in order to serve the South East Asian market in the future. In the meantime, they operate three B757Fs with more to come. If plans for operations to Europe come about, then they’ll need a somewhat larger freighter, either as a leased in aircraft or their own fleet.
The YTO fleet started modestly with five or six B737-300Fs which shuttled around China delivery express parcels. In the meantime, the airline has ordered fifteen B737-800Fs which have a far larger capacity and range.
Long term plans are for the carrier to operate fifty freighters by 2020. How many of them will be larger long-range aircraft remains to be seen.
John Mc Donagh