View of the automatic distribution center in the largest smart logistics base in Asia, named Suning Yuncang (Cloud Warehouse) of Chinese e-commerce retailer Suning Group, in Nanjing. Photo: AFP

Boosted by Beijing’s promotion of its Belt and Road initiative (BRI), some of China’s biggest companies are racing to dominate the global logistics industry.

Chinese firms have announced a total of US$32.2 billion worth of deals to acquire warehouse, trucking and other logistics related firms this year through November, the Financial Times reports. The total is more than double the US$12.9 billion in such investments last year.

The deals span countries involved in BRI, and come along with a surge in overseas port acquisitions. At least nine deals worth US$20.1 billion to buy ports have been announced so far this year.

Investments include one of the biggest deals of the year in Europe, Chinese private equity fund-controlled Global Logistics Properties acquisition of warehouse giant Gazeley. The US$2.8 billion deal added to GLP’s portfolio of 1,095 logistics parks in 119 markets.

In the biggest Chinese logistics deal of the year, sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation agreed to buy leading European logistics company Logicor, which boasts warehouse operations in 17 countries, for a sum of US$12.25 billion. It is the fourth-largest ever overseas purchase by a Chinese firm.