Chinese firm launches innovative cable logistics system


Chinese firm Guangdong iBosst has launched a project to develop what it describes as an Intelligent Logistics Express (ILE) cable rail system covering urban and rural areas of China.

The aim is to offer same-day delivery of goods nationwide and one-hour citywide delivery at half the cost of traditional transport modes, the company said.

The first 15km-long ILE was completed in Guangdong Province in May. The technology focuses on low-altitude static cable rails, which provide the infrastructure for an “expressway” to run along soft wire-rope tracks carrying small “robot containers” with a capacity of up to 100kg.

The cable rail system is part of the company’s plans to build an “integrated platform for smart express logistics”, encompassing “value-added services in warehousing, payment, finance, big data, etc,” iBosst's chairman Ma Yasheng said.

Guangdong iBosst estimates the current construction cost of the smart logistics express at RMB 150,000 (US$22,000) per kilometre, but that would be reduced to less than RMB 100,000 per kilometre when mass produced.

However, the firm has not disclosed when the ILE is likely to enter service on a commercial basis.

At an official launch event in Guangzhou last week, Ma heralded the new system as a milestone in China’s push to become a global technological innovator, Agence France Presse reported.

“The Intelligent Logistics Express is a world first and a triumph for Chinese creativity. I firmly believe in the future people will have their entertainment demands satisfied through the internet and their material demands through iBosst’s intelligent logistics network.”

He added that the system showed “proof of concept” and talks were already underway to construct similar networks in other Chinese locations, with foreign buyers also interested.

Ma said a great deal of research and development was going into drone systems for the delivery of goods in rural areas, but claimed Intelligent Logistics Express had obvious advantages over other systems, such as far superior carrying capacity and fewer operational safety concerns.