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Night hawk.

The ambitous Chinese forwarder Anda Shun is tackling the slowdown in growth and mounting competition in the country by focusing on fast logistics for e-commerce and supply chain management

At a quarter to three, in the middle of the night, flight LH8414 touches down on the runway as scheduled. Just a few minutes later the MD-11F reaches its parking position, and the usual apron operations get underway at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. Next to Hong Kong, the airport in the metropolitan area of 20 million people is the largest airfreight hub in southern China. The electric motors powering the load system embedded in the base of the hold begin to hum as pallets and containers glide out of the belly of the aircraft.
It takes almost an hour to completely unload the freighter, freeing up space for the airfreight exports “Made in China” already neatly lined up on dollies. 

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One of the consignments due to be loaded is consolidated cargo from the international logistics service provider Anda Shun. It is filled with smartwatches and Android tablets that European customers have ordered online from a major Chinese shopping portal.
“I reckon that e-commerce already accounts for as much as five percent of our current airfreight volume,” says Gerry Yang, founder and CEO of Anda Shun. “And this figure is set to increase over the coming years.” Although around three-quarters of the e-commerce consignments Anda Shun deals with are slated for export, the company also imports goods ordered by Chinese consumers via overseas online portals. “It can be anything: fashion, exclusive cosmetics or even foods that cannot be purchased here. Exquisite Italian olive oil, for example,” says the company boss, whose headquarters are based in Shenzhen in the south of Guangdong province with its population of 104 million located almost a 90-minute drive away from Guangzhou.
Here in the Pearl River Delta is where Anda Shun has its roots and where it is particularly well represented. In addition to the metropolises of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the airfreight hub Hong Kong also plays a major role for the company.

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It has long since made a name for itself in the large hubs further north and most recently posted its fastest growth in Beijing; its activities in Shanghai are also increasing steadily. More than 20 Anda Shun branches reaching far into the country’s heartland now dispatch goods to the major gateways.
Founded ten years ago, the company now employs a staff of 500, most of whom work in mainland China, although the company also operates branches in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia. “When I founded Anda Shun, I could not have foreseen such dynamic growth,” admits Yang, whose entrepreneurial career took off after a rather inauspicious start. He had previously worked as an airfreight manager with AMS, a joint venture between Air China, Morrison Express and Sinotrans, where he acted as Regional General Manager and set up their South China stations Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

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When the partners dissolved the joint venture, he and his col­leagues suddenly found themselves out of a job. “We had spent ten years successfully working in the airfreight business and knew exactly how cargo worked in China,” Yang recalls. So he founded Anda Shun, took his colleagues along and began developing his own customer base.
“Anyone in China who wants to be actively involved in airfreight needs sound knowledge of the required processes,” he says. “It’s not a piece of cake. You have to learn an awful lot, build trust with all parties involved and obtain the necessary permits from the relevant authorities.”Nowadays, there are three types of customers who rely on Anda Shun’s know-how: around 40 percent of the company’s revenue comes from smaller and medium-sized forwarding agents based in China who frequently require international ocean and airfreight solutions but do not hold a “Class-A” license and lack the necessary certification from the Ministries of Commerce and Transport. Around 30 percent of the company’s business is generated through cooperations with overseas partners, with whom Anda Shun maintains links in some 200 countries around the world. 


In general, these are foreign, medium-sized forwarders who do not have their own network in China.The remaining 30 percent are industrial customers, for example, manufacturers of consumer electronics, textiles, furniture or DIY goods.
On behalf of its customers, Anda Shun not only handles the customs clearance for ocean and airfreight shipments but also offers additional services including warehousing, trucking – door-to-door if needed – part load and express shipping as well as international supply chain management. Airfreight plays a key role in the company’s success: this business sector accounts for between 70 and 80 percent of its revenue.In 2015 Anda Shun exported 35,000 metric tons of airfreight from China, equivalent to around 59,000 AWBs, which generated revenue amounting to around half a billion Yuan (around 68 million euros).The primary target market for Anda Shun’s airfreight exports is the EU. “That is why Lufthansa Cargo is a very important carrier for us,” says Gerry Yang. “It matters a lot to my customers which airline transports their consignments. Of course the price and the service must be right. But our smaller and medium-sized customers in particular care a lot about the carrier’s image.”
Gerry Yang explains that Chinese shippers are often extremely quality-conscious when it comes to choosing their service providers. “The reason is that many companies who require airfreight solutions are relatively young firms who are growing quickly and need to create a feeling of trust among their business partners and customers.When customers see that Lufthansa Cargo is transporting their consignments and that they can afford this premium carrier, then it creates an all-important sense of confidence,” says Yang.“Even for us as a relatively young forwarding company, it is important to send a strong signal, namely that we are one of Lufthansa Cargo’s Business Partners.  And that is why in the medium term we are working towards becoming a Premium Partner.” 


Maximum reliability.
Yet there’s more to it than merely status. Anda Shun frequently relies on Lufthansa Cargo’s outstanding efficiency, for example, when it comes to the construction industry. Anda Shun is often involved in major projects as a closely-integrated logistics partner when a new business hotel is being constructed somewhere in Europe. In one such instance, bathroom fixtures for several hundred hotel rooms, which had been produced somewhere in China, needed to be delivered within a very narrow timeframe. “Things have a habit of changing right up to the very last minute,” says Gerry Yang. “But working together with Lufthansa Cargo means that we can always guarantee the utmost in reliability and one hundred percent transparency with respect to costs and timelines.”

As well as orders that require careful IT-based monitoring and flexible supply chain management, Anda Shun is keen to make the most of the opportunities offered by e-commerce to counter the effects of the slowdown in growth and mounting competition in China. Gerry Yang explains: “As far as B2C online platforms go, in addition to airfreight, we currently offer to-door deliveries for each consignment, right down to the size of every individual package.” If needs be, Anda Shun makes use of Lufthansa Cargo’s td.Flash, or in urgent cases their Courier.Solutions or Emergency.Solutions. “In Chinese, ‘Anda Shun’ means a ‘smooth and safe delivery’ – all of Lufthansa Cargo’s processes comply with that.”
It all begins with the punctuality of the freighters. At Guangzhou airport, the Anda Shun consignment with the products from the online merchant are already safely loaded in the belly of the MD-11. The three-engine freighter taxis to the runway and takes off. It will touch down in Frankfurt exactly 14 hours and ten minutes later. Just a few days after placing his order, an excited European online customer will be opening the door to the parcel carrier and taking delivery of his new smartwatch.



Gareth Brown

planet 02/2016