Silk Road Shipping Deploys First Smart Containers As E-Commerce Grows


Silk Road Shipping, China’s first cross-border e-commerce express container shipping alliance, reached a new milestone last week, when it deployed specially designed smart containers for the first time, reports The Loadstar.

IoT technology

The containers use Internet of Things technology, enabling users to visualise container flows through mobile communication, and Beidou, a satellite-based radio navigation system, owned and operated by the China National Space Administration.

Seven smart containers were loaded onto the 1,100 teu SITC Dalian in China’s Xiamen port on 21 March, which departed for Haiphong, Vietnam.

The containers are embedded with a microchip that enables shippers and liner operators to track them, including whether the goods are out of the warehouse and have been inspected by customs.

Silk Road Shipping GM Li Nan said: “Trade data from recent years shows that supply chain logistics and cross-border e-commerce have become a major growth engine for China’s imports and exports. Therefore shippers and forwarders are very concerned about the dynamics of the container.

Established in 2018, the Silk Road Shipping alliance involves liner operators, forwarders and shippers, targeting e-commerce shipments to and from countries along the Belt and Road initiative. Participating companies include Cosco and SITC Container Lines. By February, 116 routes, covering 106 ports, had been added.

According to Statista report Key Figures of E-Commerce, pre-pandemic sales in e-commerce were estimated at $3.351bn; by 2023, it reached $5.78bn, a 72.6% increase in four years. And projections indicate 39% growth over the coming years, with expectations for sales to surpass eight trillion dollars by 2027.

It is estimated that Silk Road Shipping transported over 4m teu by sea last year. Cumulatively, since 2018, more than 16.6m teu has been moved on sea, with a trade value of around $1.6bn.

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Source: The Loadstar