The Spatial Imprints of Evolving Last-mile Delivery Solutions: The Case of Shenzhen, China

The Spatial Imprints of Evolving Last-mile Delivery Solutions: The Case of Shenzhen, China


Zuopeng Xiao, The University of Hong Kong


With the case of Shenzhen, this paper aims to examine the geographical imprints of evolving final delivery solutions grounding with physical space.


Because final delivery plays a significant role in the B2C e-commerce logistics chain, it has drawn a variety of solutions to enhance last-mile logistics services. Especially, the immature final home delivery system in China is witnessing a great advance driven by the surging e-retailing. E-retailers, the third-party logistics service providers (3PLs), professional last-mile delivery agents, real estate developers and property management companies are positively involving in this final segment to consumers' doorsteps. The evolving last-mile solutions have significantly changed the landscape of home delivery. Numerous studies have traced final delivery solutions, few studies to date have examined the geographical imprints of these solutions grounding with physical space.

To fill this gap, the evolution of final delivery solutions will be summarized first with the case city of Shenzhen, China, where B2C e-commerce and logistics have experienced a rapid growth in recent years. Using the data drawn from open street map (OSM) and in-depth interviews, the deployment of collection and delivery points, smart lockers and other facilities are visualized and further analyzed to depict the spatial/temporal disparities in access to final delivery services.

We find that at current stage different final distribution patterns co-exists in the case city of Shenzhen. Market stakeholders are positively active in organizing their own-operated final distribution network. Different solutions are grounding with different urban settlements, according to the demand density, social economic profiles and built environment, which results in the spatial disparity. Except for contributing to international comparison about last-mile logistics, the findings would benefits government authorities and market stakeholders to deploy final delivery facilities in different areas.


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