The necessity of more efficiency in China’s logistics

Eighteen percent of China’s GDP can be attributed to the logistics sector, compared to eight and seven percent in the US and the Netherlands respectively. Various factors influence the efficiency e.g.: barriers and regional differences in policy, infrastructure and logistics services. Reforms and standardization are essential to improve the efficiency in China’s logistics. Reducing obstacles in the supply chain could increase trade by fifteen percent.

In order to increase the functionality of the logistics sector, the Chinese government initiated several reforms. Also Chinese companies are attentive to focus on their logistic efficiency, due to higher salaries and growing welfare.

The article of NOST China: ‘Overzichtsartikel Logistiek China’ Oct. 2013 (in Dutch) presents an overview of logistics in China. The article can be downloaded here:
Overzichtsartikel Logistiek China

A list of universities and other research institutes in China with a focus on logistics are presented in the following scheme:
Chinese Research Institutes focused on Logistics

Sino-Dutch logistics research experience

Logistics and supply chain management go beyond boundaries, driven by international trade. The same accounts for scientific research. An increasing number of Dutch Universities are active worldwide. In a double interview academic professors Harry Geerlings (Erasmus Smart Port Rotterdam) and Jan Fransoo (TU/e) tell us about their experiences in China (in Dutch).

Prof Harry Geerlings Prof Jan Fransoo
Prof Harry Geerlings Prof Jan Fransoo

“Als we kijken naar stadsdistributie en de koppeling met het e-commerce netwerk, dan kunnen we veel leren van China”

“De Chinezen zijn sterk in algoritmisch complexe problemen. Wij zijn met name sterk om relevante bedrijfs- en beleidsproblemen goed te vertalen”

“Dat de schaal en snelheid waarop dingen gebeuren in China die per definitie indrukwekkend is”

The interview of NOST China: ‘Logistiek onderzoek in China? Een interview met twee specialisten’ Oct. 2013 (in Dutch) can be downloaded here:
Logistiek onderzoek in China? Een interview met twee specialisten

China’s performance in 2012 Nature Publishing Index strongest to date

With a third more papers than last year and a host of new institutions, China’s performance in the 2012 Nature Publishing Index is its strongest to date. Nature’s numbers show that the quality of research has improved, but the authors conclude that more support for basic science is encouraged.

There have also been calls for the establishment of a coordinated approach to training and retaining of good researchers as well as more clarity in how the best scientists are recognized.

In terms of the cities, Beijing and Shanghai still account for the lion’s share of the country’s high-quality research output.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) continues to be the dominant force, with the University of Science and Technology of China, Tsinghua University, Peking University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University rounding out China’s top 5.


Source: Nature
Remark: We already posted an item about this NPI publication earlier this year.

Get your parcel delivered by a mini helicopter

SF Express, one of China’s largest parcel companies, is testing helicopter drones to deliver packages. Although SF Express isn’t the first company using drones for commercial purposes, China is the first country to legalize parcel delivery this way. The police in Dongguan (Guangdong province, China) gave their permission and said it will do so in the future, as long as the companies are granted permission from civil aviation and air traffic authorities. At the same time the US is hampered by the fact that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not currently allow drones for commercial use in US airspace. Furthermore the FAA is not required to issue commercial drone rules until 2015.


The drones automatically deliver parcels to exact locations using a built-in navigation system, with a maximum error of about 2 meters. Furthermore they are capable of flying 100 meters high. Due to the growing e-commerce market, the drones can be of interesting value. In particular delivering parcels in remote areas and in busy cities struggling with traffic and pollution the helicopter drones can be useful. However SF Express only tested the drones, so we can only wonder about the next step in using drones for commercial purposes.

Source: InnovativeChina

Invisibility cloaks ‘made in China’?

Well, not yet. But the results from this research at ZheJiang University (Hangzhou) are very interesting.

A team led by Lu Lan at Zhejiang University in China have actually created the first invisibility cloak designed using topology optimisation. They carved it out of Teflon and it took them 15 minutes using a computer-controlled engraving machine.

The resulting “Teflon eyelid” invisibility cloak hides a cylindrical disc of metal the size of poker chip from microwaves. Its performance closely matches the prediction of the computer simulation.

That’s significant because it brings invisibility cloaks into the realms of mass production.

Lu and his team say there is no reason why the same approach can work in optical wavelengths. “Such a cloaking setup won’t be a big problem to replicate in the THz or even optical spectrum,” they say.


Cloaks like these in the near future?

Of course, there are challenges ahead. Lu and his team want to develop the technique to create cloaks that work over a range of frequencies and at a range of angles. If they can make them cheaply and easily for a cost measured in pennies, there’s no reason why invisibility cloaks won’t soon be everyday objects.

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