1. Overview of Logistics Companies in Japan
Japan is a highly developed economy and arguably one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. The country is a leading manufacturer and exporter of goods and is known for its high-quality machines throughout the globe. Owing to Japan’s superior manufacturing and quality standards, there is a huge demand for its products in both domestic as well as international markets. In order to get these products to the customers who seek them, logistics companies are used. The logistics industry is a big part of the Japanese economy and forms over 5 percent of its annual GDP. However, being such a large sector, it becomes difficult for businesses to choose which logistics company to partner with to move their products. Therefore, in this article, we discuss the logistics industry in Japan as well as the top companies in the sector and how to choose a logistics partner.
2. Top 10 Best Logistics Companies in Japan for eCommerce Businesses [2021 Updated List]
The Japanese market consists of several logistics companies that offer a number of services to companies in the countries and abroad. However, with so many options available, businesses find it difficult to identify which companies are ideal for an enterprise. Therefore, here is a list of the top 10 logistics companies in Japan.
Sagawa is one of the largest shipping and logistics service providers in Japan. It was established in 1957 in Kyoto where it is currently headquartered. It employs over 57,000 people throughout the world and allows companies to make domestic as well as international shipments. It also owns and operates a fleet of more than 26,000 delivery vehicles.
The company offers several logistics services including transportation, express shipping, mail delivery, last-mile delivery, and air freight solutions. It also offers third-party logistics services such as warehousing, inventory management, packaging solutions, and more. It allows businesses to track their items and manage exceptions.
Yamato is a leading international courier services provider based in Japan. It was founded in 1919 in Tokyo and is currently headquartered there. It has one of the biggest networks of any logistics company in Japan with 12 regional offices, 89 branches, 4 gateways, 6,877 centers, 24 express branches as well as 345 corporate sales branches throughout the world. It employs roughly 180,000 people and handles an average of 1.8 billion packages every.
Yamato Transport offers a wide variety of solutions to businesses in Japan including standard and express shipping services, distribution services, consolidation, and air freight services. It allows businesses in Japan to deliver products to customers in over 23 countries around the world. It also offers specialized transportation services for fine arts to ensure the safe and secure movement of such items.
Schenker-Seino is a global shipping and logistics service provider operating in Japan. Founded over 140 years ago, the company has one of the biggest and most diverse shipping networks in the world. It has operations in more than 141 countries and its presence in over 2,000 different cities across several nations. It has a workforce of more than 58,000 people and helps businesses reach 200+ countries and territories across the globe.
Schenker-Seino is a renowned freight forwarding company offering air, ocean, and surface forwarding solutions. It offers contract logistics solutions through its network of 850 facilities in 60 countries with more than 8 million square meters of warehouse space. It offers order fulfillment solutions, eCommerce logistics, production logistics as well as custom clearance services.
FedEx is a leading international logistics and delivery services provider that was founded in 1971. It is one of the world’s largest logistics companies and has been operating in Japan since 1984. It allows businesses to reach customers in more than 220 countries and territories throughout the world. Employing a workforce of over 600,000 people it processes an average of 12.5 million packages each day.
FedEx offers a wide range of services ranging from domestic and international shipping solutions to third-party logistics. It allows businesses to make express shipments overnight, during the same day and next day. It also provides specialized solutions for shipping sensitive and heavy items, as well as dangerous goods. Apart from these, it offers last-mile delivery, distribution and reverses logistics services.
DHL is an international carrier that is owned by the postal giant Deutsche Post Group. It was founded in 1969 and established an office in Japan in 1972. It is a major global carrier with over 400,000 employees who help businesses reach customers in more than 220 countries and territories around the globe. It processes more than 1.8 billion packages each year and is one of the world’s largest logistics companies.
DHL offers freight services via air, sea and surface. It also provides bulk shipping solutions, shipping services for heavy items, as well as specialized solutions for sensitive items. It facilitates domestic and international shipments allowing businesses to connect with international customers. DHL’s offerings allow businesses to consolidate their shipments and send them as a single consignment, schedule pickups for products to be picked up from different locations and even track their orders through their in-house tracking system.
2.6) Blue Dart
Blue Dart is a shipping company that was founded in 1983 and is also owned by the Deutsche Post Group since 2004. It offers a reach of more than 220 countries, maintaining over 2112 facilities throughout the world. The company is a major 3PL provider with over 12,200 employees, 11,000 vehicles and approximately 3 million square feet of warehouse space.
Blue Dart offers domestic as well as international shipping solutions, express delivery services, cross-border eCommerce services, customs clearance services and more. It offers a host of 3PL solutions such as warehousing services, packaging solutions, and temperature-controlled transportation.
United Parcel Service or the UPS is the world’s largest logistics company in terms of revenue. It was founded in 1907 and entered the Asia Pacific market in 1988. It employs more than 500,000 employees, processing over 4.7 billion shipments every single year. It allows businesses to reach customers in over 220 countries.
UPS’s service portfolio includes shipping services, pickup scheduling, international delivery, freight, customs clearance solutions, as well as reverse logistics services. It provides a web-based platform for users to generate labels and manage their orders online.
2.8) Nippon Express
Nippon Express is a Japanese logistics company established in 1937. It was founded in 1937 and is one of the most popular shipping solutions providers in the world. It employs over 32,000 people across 735 international locations to provide 29 distinct services. It has a presence in 49 countries with direct operations in 33 nations.
Nippon Express is a popular surface transportation service provider, with freight offering via air and sea as well. It also provides railway transport service. It allows businesses to make international shipments and offer global supply chain management solutions. Additionally, it provides specialized services including fire arts transportation, heavy items haulage, warehousing solutions and distribution service.
2.9) Japan Post
Japan Post is a logistics and mailing service company owned by the government of Japan. It was founded in 2003 and was brought under Japan Post Holdings in 2007. It operates a network of 27,000 post offices in Japan as well as 50 warehousing and logistics hubs throughout the world. It is a major employer with a workforce of over 200,000 helping its clients reach customers in over 100 countries.
Japan Post offers domestic and international delivery services providing mail delivery, express delivery, and several other solutions. It allows companies in Japan to send parcels and delivery-date specified packages. Further, it offers eCommerce logistics services for online sellers.
DTDC, which is short for Desk to Desk Courier and Cargo, is a global carrier and logistics service provider that was founded in 1990. It is a major international logistics company with significant operations in Japan, allowing businesses to deliver products to more than 240 countries and territories around the world. It employs over 35,000 people and processes over 12 million parcels each month.
DTDC allows businesses to make domestic and international shipments, express deliveries, as well eCommerce deliveries. It offers international freight solutions through air and sea, and also provides supply chain management services.
3. List of Services offered by Logistics Companies in Japan
Logistics companies offer a variety of solutions and services that serve different requirements of different businesses. However, some services remain largely common across the industry. Here is a list of some major services offered by logistics companies in Japan.
Shipping is one of the most fundamental services offered by logistics service providers. It allows companies to move products from one location to another, and fulfill the requirements of customers. Shipping services also allow companies to connect with customers from different countries across multiple continents.
Warehousing is another important service offered by logistics companies. The service allows companies to store their product inventory in a secure location until they are sold to the customers or moved to another location. The warehouse allows businesses to sort, manage, pack and dispatch products as and when required in a strategically located facility.
3.3) Reverse Logistics
Reverse logistics is the process of getting products back from the destination to the original location. Logistics companies offer this service to allow companies to safely return products that are not needed by customers. This service is especially useful for eCommerce companies that face a high rate of order returns since customers are not able to physically examine the products.
3PL, short for third-party logistics, is an outsourced solution where a company receives end-to-end solutions from a particular provider. 3PL (3rd party logistics) services include everything from packaging and transportation to insurance and last-mile delivery.
3.5) eCommerce Fulfillment
One of the fastest-growing industries across the world is the eCommerce sector. Owing to the massive internet usage and lesser customers preferring to shop physically, the online shopping market is growing rapidly and this has created a huge demand for eCommerce order fulfillment services. Since eCommerce companies operate digital stores, they need the services of logistics service providers to get the product from the storage facility to the customer. An increasing number of companies now offer eCommerce fulfillment services.
4. How to Choose the Best Logistics Company in Japan for Your eCommerce Business?
Since Japan’s economy is highly developed, the market is competitive and the logistics industry comprises several large companies. As a result, businesses find it difficult to choose which company would be right for their business. Therefore, here is a list of factors that companies must consider before choosing a logistics partner.
4.1) Cost of services
The cost of services is one of the most important factors when choosing a partner for any domain. When businesses look for logistics providers, they must understand all types of costs associated with the offering, including hidden costs, in any. The cost of services directly impacts the revenue of firm, therefore, when businesses save money on services they indirectly increase margins. However, the cheapest option in the market is not necessarily the best choice for a company as it comes with drawbacks such as poor quality of service. Companies must look for affordable options depending on their capacity to spend to ensure that they get the best quality service.
4.2) Coverage Area
The area covered by logistics companies is an important consideration for any company. It allows businesses to reach more customers, while also increasing efficiency as a result of a larger network. When searching for a logistics partner, companies must try to find companies with a larger network and wide serviceability. This opens new opportunities and markets for companies while improving the experience for the existing customer base.
4.3) Limitations on Dimensions and Mass
Some logistics companies have limitations on the dimensions and the weight of products that they will handle. This prevents companies that deal in items that are odd-shaped, large, or heavy to lose customers or spending more on services. Therefore, if a company needs to move large and bulky items, it must understand the restrictions that a logistics company has and choose a partner accordingly.
4.4) Options For Services Available
Different logistics service providers offer different types of services and each one fulfills different needs. When companies search for logistics companies they must understand the type of services that are required by them and if they are offered by the logistics provider. Further, a large service catalog allows companies to avail multiple solutions from same source without having to partner with multiple providers.
While businesses look for logistics providers that offer different types of services, they must also look for the expertise of the providers. As the needs of each company are unique, when it partners with providers who specialize in the domain of their requirements, the operations become highly efficient and cost-effective.
4.6) Value-Added Services
Value-added services are another factor that is very important to look at, however, often overlooked by companies. VASs allow businesses to avail themselves of multiple solutions from the same provider that can improve the efficiency of operations, quality of service, and safety of transportation. When companies choose logistics partners, they must take a look at the value-added services offered by them and how those services can benefit the operations of the company.
4.7) Returns Handling
In a business environment, where products are not physically examined before the customer buys them, it becomes obvious that a large number of orders will be returned. The reverse logistics of a product, especially for eCommerce companies, is an intricate process and has a direct impact on revenue. Therefore, businesses must look for logistics companies that offer reverse logistics services and are competent to manage the process.
4.8) Shipping Exceptions
Shipping exceptions are an event where the product is stuck in transit. It creates problems for the company as the delivery may delay or the product may even be lost or damaged during transportation. Therefore, when companies look for logistics partners, they must identify providers that are capable of handling exceptions and have historically maintained low rates of stuck shipments.
The technology used by logistics companies is extremely important, especially in the digital economy that exists today. Businesses must give due attention to the use of technology by logistics service providers as it helps share information across multiple entities easily, increases the efficiency of the system, and allows companies to monitor the entire process to avoid hindrances.
4.10) Historical Performance
When companies look for logistics partners, they must check reviews of the provider. Only after a careful analysis of their previous clientele, performance and experience should companies partner with logistics providers. This allows companies to assess capabilities of a logistics company while also evaluating the reliability of its services.
5. Final thoughts
Japan is a dynamic country and heavily reliant on technology. The aging population and high quality of life have created a huge demand for the logistics sector to move products to the doorsteps of customers. Therefore, it becomes inevitable for businesses of all types to partner with logistics companies to reach consumers. However, in such a developed economy, the number of companies offering logistics services can be overwhelming. Therefore, businesses must understand their needs and assess the offerings before partnering with a firm.