Stories

The global shipping explosion

Packages piled high in a warehouse
Inside the massive Nanjing warehouse of Chinese retailer Suning. Photo: Visual China Group/Getty Images

The world shipped 2,760 packages per second in 2018.

The big picture: That's a total of 87 billion parcels for the year, according to new data by shipping services company Pitney Bowes, provided first to Axios.

  • The total is up from 74.4 billion in 2017.

Why it matters: The rise of retail giants like Amazon, Alibaba and Rakuten is driving consumers' demand for a constant stream of parcels to their doorsteps — delivered fast and for free.

But, but, but: The demand for delivery comes with a steep environmental cost. Transportation is a larger contributor to climate change than any other industry.

  • China alone accounts for nearly 60% of the global parcel volume. The country shipped 50.5 billion packages last year.
  • The U.S. is next, with 12.5 billion, then Japan, with 9.4 billion.