china post © Hupeng
© Hupeng

It has taken a long time, but the airline industry is finally seeking to cement its place in the international post and mail business, as it eyes e-commerce revenues, which have been something of a (self-appointed) bastion of the integrators.

The latest association between airline and postal service comes from Lufthansa Cargo and China Post – a joint freight operation, which initially sees a once-a-week service between Shanghai and Frankfurt.

Lufthansa and China Post have already been working together, but want to develop their partnership further. The pair said the 777 freighter operation would be the “foundation of a strategic cooperation”.

“The e-commerce business is in a vigorous development,” said Li Xiong, vice president of China Post Group Corporation. “Both China Post and Lufthansa Cargo are upgrading and innovating the business model.

“Under the concept of the Joint Freight Operation, the two sides have reached a further consensus on capacity agreement this time. We will jointly build a more stabilised and comprehensive channel of air mail transportation connecting China and Europe.”

China Post, whose sister airline China Postal Airlines – 49% owned by China Southern – has a fleet comprising 22 737s and seven 757s, according to planspotters.net, is clearly looking to expand its global abilities.

Lufthansa and China Post have so far focused their partnership on Beijing and Guangzhou, making Shanghai a crucial development. The companies said that in addition to the capacity agreement, which could be expanded, they were “jointly working on shortening transportation times, improving quality and further developing digitalisation”.

“We are very pleased that the excellent collaboration with China Post, which has been going on for many years, is now even gaining new quality within the framework of a strategic cooperation,” said Peter Gerber, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo.

“It also reflects the growing importance of the cross-border e-commerce market. Together, we will be able to achieve even more for our joint customers on one of the world’s most important tradelanes.”

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