Express shipments between China and the Nordic countries – that is the key promise of STO Express, a new player in the logistics business in the Nordics. STO Express Finland has boosted its launch in Vantaa with the help of Helsinki Business Hub. It is all about soft landing services and business-critical contacts.
Things started to move at a fast pace in summer 2019 when Dejun Chen, the Chairman of STO Express, visited Finland. The launch of a new flight route between Helsinki and Shanghai operated by Juneyao Airlines provided a business opportunity for STO Express, the biggest logistics company in China.
“Our chairman decided to enter the markets in the Nordic countries as the first Chinese logistics provider. There is a growing need for fast logistics between China and the Nordics – Chinese people and businesses order more goods from Finland and the Nordics and vice versa. E-commerce is one of the drivers,” says Maggie Zhang, Head at STO Express Finland.
STO Express is known for its global express and convenient door-to-door deliveries with real-time tracking in the WeChat app. The air freight service is easy for the client as the company picks the parcels from their home or office, re-packs them at the warehouse and delivers them to the airplane and finally to the final destination.
“In general deliveries from Finland and the Nordics to China take very long, 10 days or even more, whereas we can handle the deliveries in some five days. Of course it always depends of the case,” says Mingshang Wu, COO at STO Express Finland.
The secret lies in the efficient logistics network of STO Express Finland in China and partnerships with various airlines, which fly from Helsinki to Chinese cities. Helsinki is the gateway to China and the hub for other Nordic and EU countries.
“We deliver to different places in China throughout the week as many airlines fly there. Juneyao Airlines flies from Helsinki to Shanghai and Sichuan Airlines reaches Chengdu, both twice a week, and Finnair covers Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai and Xi’an many times a week,” adds Wu.
“The best expert in our business area, Xin Wang, the Senior Business Advisor at Helsinki Business Hub, has helped us a lot. He has introduced potential partners and clients to us and given valuable advice about the business environment in Finland and the Nordics,”
Maggie Zhang, Head at STO Express Finland
Access to potential partners and clients
At this point, in January 2020, freight packages travel from Finland to China even if STO Express Finland has operated only for a couple of months. The logistics company has a warehouse in Vantaa situated very close to the Helsinki Airport.
This smooth start in the Nordic markets has been facilitated by Helsinki Business Hub. It has provided STO Express Finland with soft-landing services such as finding the right facilities and business information including contacts for potential partners and public authorities.
“The best expert in our business area, Xin Wang, the Senior Business Advisor at Helsinki Business Hub, has helped us a lot. He has introduced potential partners and clients to us and given valuable advice about the business environment in Finland and the Nordics,” says Zhang.
Right now STO Express Finland negotiates with potential partners to find the right one that can do the parcel pick-ups all over the Finland and later on similar partners from Sweden and Estonia. Thanks to Wang the STO Express Finland crew knows how to deal with Finnish business people.
“We learned that Finnish business people are practical. If you succeed to show that you are a reliable company, they choose you. They think of you as a partner rather than a supplier. So we have to be efficient and provide great quality to succeed here,” highlights Zhang.
In general, Zhang and Wu praise how easy it is to operate in Greater Helsinki and Finland. Authorities provide a wide array of e-services, which are easy to use. Sometimes Wu makes even 10 calls to their contact person at the Finnish Customs and always gets a response in a friendly manner.
Competitive advantage from blockchain
In near future the STO Express Finland team of eight Chinese experts focuses on many things. It works on expanding its client network from Chinese companies and people to other companies and people in Finland and develops the delivery service. Talks with Wang have led STO Express Finland to establish a bonded warehouse. It means that the express logistics company can retain their clients’ goods until they are delivered to the buyers and only then the duties and taxes need to be paid. Duty-free warehouse will follow.
In two years STO Express Finland plans to have 15–20 employees. It is possible that at that point the company with all parties involved uses blockchain technology in freight tracking. It would help to make the freight data reliable and secure as it cannot be tampered during the delivery.
“We hope that we are the first ones in the logistics business, who succeed with this. Our plan is to cooperate with the best research and innovation partners in Finland such as VTT, the Aalto University and the University in Vaasa,” hopes Wu. “We want to make magic happen.”