Cainiao Network Technology, the nation’s leading logistics operator, has kicked off a pilot program in Shanghai that allows instant food orders to be sent to parcel storage facilities.

The water-testing endeavor started with an office building in the city’s downtown Jing’an district, where food items ordered via catering delivery site Ele.me can be placed in a designated Cainiao smart locker.

The move aims to circumvent the hassle of users picking up food deliveries when they are occupied, reduces human contact and enhances efficiency for both customers and delivery men, said Zhou Xiaohong, who oversees Cainiao’s smart locker initiative in Shanghai.

These lockers are conventionally used for storing packages purchased from e-commerce sites. Couriers need to get consent from the user prior to leaving their orders in these lockers.

Cainiao said it is mulling over expanding the initiative to other cities and beyond the epidemic period, if the trial receives favorable response during the Shanghai debut.

The novel coronavirus has barred couriers from entering residential complexes and office buildings, leaving parcels scattered around entrances.

To address the issue, the government will roll out measures to develop intelligent logistics at the rear end and encourage the building of relevant facilities, said Liu Jun, deputy director of the State Post Bureau, in a press conference on Friday.

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