'Parcel oceans' inundate Chinese universities as Covid-19 rules make it hard to move living necessities

“Oceans of parcels” arrived at Chinese universities as new students moved in ahead of the school year.
PHOTO: Baidu

A tidal wave of parcels inundated Chinese universities as students returned to school because Covid-19 restrictions made it a challenge for students and parents to transport their living necessities themselves.

Administrators from Jian Qiao University in Shanghai told The Paper that the wave of packages happened because the campus was sealed off from the surrounding area to prevent an outbreak of Covid-19.

The rules made it difficult for students and parents to drive private vehicles onto campus, so they sent their possessions to themselves or bought new ones.

University students have sent more parcels than normal this year as Covid-19 makes logistics difficult.
PHOTO: Baidu

Earlier this month, The Paper reported that a “parcel ocean” at Jian Qiao University blocked roads throughout the school located in the eastern Chinese megacity.

Students called the pickup areas a “battleground for packages”, and others said there were so many boxes they could not easily move around.

“When I arrived at the pickup station, I was shocked by the number of parcels. It was laughable,” wrote one student on Weibo.

Other schools in China had experiences similar to Jian Qiao University.

Some university students said the high-quality logistics infrastructure in China made it attractive to send parcels to school.
PHOTO: Baidu

Chen Sheng, a delivery manager in Ningbo, a city in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, said his station, responsible for sending parcels to eight colleges in the region, sent at least 5,000 parcels per day since September, more than doubling the normal amount, the Ningbo Evening News reported.

Chen said that during the Singles’ Day shopping festival, one of the world’s largest annual consumption periods, they typically delivered 3,000 parcels a day.

Ningbo Evening News reported that Tmall.com deliveries to tertiary schools in the first week of this month had risen 120 per cent compared with the same week last month.

Many universities in China were cut off from the surrounding areas, making in-person logistics a challenge.
PHOTO: Baidu

A fourth-year student at Zhejiang Wanli University in Ningbo told the newspaper he prepared two big parcels at home before sending them to his school.

“The logistics industry is so advanced that using the express service is more convenient than moving my things myself,” the student said. “It’s also not expensive.”

Pictures of the parcel oceans sparked heated discussion online and were viewed 200 million times on Weibo.

“They have money – given by their parents – but do not have the pressure of earning money. Maybe it’s their first time to have a disposable income. So it’s no wonder shopping will be a key part of their lives,” wrote one person on Weibo.

“It shows a remarkable change in our country,” another person said. “Two or three decades ago, I sat on the train for 20 hours to my university to study. I brought several big and small suitcases containing bowls and soaps. Look at the current generation of students. They go to universities empty-handed.”

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.