Ocean freight is expected to play a larger role in the thriving inter e-commerce market in Southeast Asia.
The Covid-crisis has speeded up online expenditure across the region, as per regional e-commerce logistics specialist J&T Express, with the market on track to reach $153 billion in sales by 2025.
This was forecasted even before the pandemic, and as the variety of goods available for purchase online expands, J&T expects more volumes to shift to sea freight.
“The move will largely be driven by consumers buying bigger items and pressure for merchants to reduce shipping costs,” said Andrew Sim, CEO of J&T Express Singapore, as reported by Loadstar.
J&T also operates in Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, and China and claims to be one of the region’s fastest-growing e-commerce logistics companies, with revenue increasing by 300 per cent per year since its inception in 2015.
Sim explained that the company is looking for ways to improve its infrastructure, systems, and facilities to consolidate retail, trade better, and logistics processes to support sea freight as a crucial link in cross-border e-commerce supply chains.
However, the container shortage was affecting, according to Mr Sim, increasing the cost of achieving cross-border e-commerce consignments. Meanwhile, due to reduced air cargo capacity, some forwarders in the region have seen an increase in volumes shifting to cross-border trucking.
However, for e-commerce to use road freight was limited compared to Europe. According to Sim, it is because of “issues with customs clearance between different Asian countries.” Nevertheless, he said there is an increasing trend in Asia for cross-border trucking for countries close to each other such as Malaysia and Singapore. It is favorable because of the lower cost and shorter lead time.