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What’s Inside the LF Logistics ‘Transportation Super Hub’ Near Shanghai

LF Logistics, the logistics arm of Li & Fung, and GLP, a global investment manager and business builder in logistics, have collaborated to implement new technology solutions at the opening of a 24-hour Transportation Super Hub in China’s Jiading district, northwest of Shanghai.

Occupying 6,600 square meters, the Transportation Super Hub allows for fast-in, fast-out cross-docking for the sorting and transportation of merchandise arriving from LF Logistics’ facilities across China to different distributor warehouses and retail locations for efficient national distribution. The super hub employs an advanced sorting system of conveyors and robotics to fully utilize cargo space and achieve a peak throughput of 5,000 cubic meters per day, speeding up the sorting process by 50 percent.

“The super hub represents the first of many steps in the partnership of Li & Fung and GLP,” Dominic Gates, president of LF Logistics, said. “I am proud to see the efficiency and synergies of the two teams in bringing the dock management solution to life so quickly. I look forward to deepening our collaboration in looking for new ways of working and new digital solutions to bring efficiency to our customers.”

The super hub features a double-sided docking warehouse with 19 loading docks to allow efficient, simultaneous cross-docking of cargo without congestion and a 24-hour control tower and operations for real-time order management visibility.

LF Logistics and GLP have collaborated to implement new technology solutions at the opening of a Transportation Super Hub in Shanghai.
A diagram showing the flow of the cloud-based digital dock management solution. courtesy

Automation features to enhance efficiency and reduce manual sorting errors include a sorting conveyor with 57 lines for auto sorting with a capacity of 6,000 cartons per hour, a de-palletization robotic arm with a capacity of 600 cartons per hour, a customized warehouse control system for different customers sorting requirements, and a cubic scanner to measure weight and volume of palletized, fragile or irregular size cargoes that cannot be conveyor sorted.

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The efficiency of a distribution center is directly linked to both the operations inside the warehouse, as well as the flow of vehicles and merchandise entering and exiting the facility. The high volume of trucks entering and exiting the park within a short window puts great strain on available dock space.

LF Logistics and new partner, G2Link–GLP’s technology division–wanted to create a solution to better match trucks and merchandise with available docks, while enabling the overall entry-assign dock-park-unload-load-confirm-exit process to minimize time spent finding and occupying docks.

The two parties implemented a cloud-based digital dock management solution tailored for LF Logistic’s Super Hub. Applying algorithms and computer vision, the digital dock management solution accelerates and automates the queue management process within the warehouse, reducing overall waiting time by 90 percent. It also enhances the visibility for better scheduling and matching of trucks and merchandise to the available docks. The entire process is paperless and can all be done via the app on the truckers’ smartphone or tablet. After initial monitoring, the solution will be rolled out to other LF Logistics facilites in China and then tailored for overseas markets.

“Li & Fung and GLP have a shared vision of driving the digital supply chain of the future, and the Super Hub is an important milestone in our partnership,” Victor Mok, co-president of logistics and industrial real estate, and chairman and CEO of Asset Service Platform for GLP China, said. “Our collaboration highlights how GLP and Li & Fung are co-creating tools in AI, IoT, automation and other areas that will optimize costs and increase efficiency across the supply chain.”

In May, Li & Fung took itself private and is now owned and managed by the Fung Family and Singapore-headquartered GLP. The Fung Family has controlling interest with 60 percent of the voting shares. GLP has 40 percent of the voting shares and 100 percent of the non-voting shares, resulting in an effective economic ownership of 67.67 percent of Li & Fung.