China’s largest private courier service has secured the country’s first license to deliver packages via drones following a successful pilot period.
Shenzhen-based SF Holding now has the ability to use drones to deliver goods in pilot areas designated by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
The permit, which was awarded to the company after a trial last June, will see unmanned aerial vehicles provide a new way to navigate remote locations, while also improving delivery times of packages to rural areas, according to local press reports.
Some 70% of China is difficult to access by road due to mountains, hills and plateaus, with these locations set to benefit the most from the agreement.
SF Holdings has recently made large investments in developing drone-related and air freight services, including buying and leasing aircraft to build up a network and gaining approval to build its own airport in Ezhou in central Hubei province, all helping to strengthen the case for its permit to be approved.
Now the company aim to create an air delivery network that covers all third-tier cities and smaller ones by continuing to develop a drone grid and integrating main routes and extensions of its UAV logistics network.