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Share instead of buying

Open the app on your cellphone, scan a QR code, and the vehicle is yours to use. After you are done, scan the QR code again to return the vehicle, and pay using the app in the end. Perhaps this is the procedure you are already used to for hiring bicycles or cars? In China, this is also the way of using shared forklift trucks. In 2022, the KION brand company Linde Material Handling took the lead in launching this innovative rental model for industrial trucks, providing Chinese customers with a quick, convenient, affordable, and highly flexible intralogistics solution.


Chongqing is an important logistics hub located in southwestern China. Every morning, hundreds of trucks, all packed with goods, stop in front of the seven buildings of the Mingpinfu Logistics Park. Over one thousand merchants and traders rent cold storage space here to preserve frozen meat, vegetables, and seafood. As soon as the trucks stop in front of the unloading platform, the merchants all run over to the line of red electric pallet trucks parked next to the platform. They take out their cellphones, scan the QR codes on the pallet trucks, remove the charging cables, and take them over to unload their goods. This entire process is carried out naturally and spontaneously and takes just a few seconds. Finally, the frozen goods must be unloaded from the trucks as quickly as possible and moved into cold storage for preservation using freight elevators.

The red forklift trucks that help them complete this important task are electric pallet trucks from Linde Material Handling, a member of the KION Group. They are equipped with lithium batteries, can easily handle up to 1.5 tons of goods and can be used for 4-6 hours on a single full charge. In most cases, the merchants can easily move a full truckload of goods into cold storage within 1-2 hours – quick, convenient and without any emissions.

Satisfied customers, a successful sharing-concept

High performance, high quality, convenience, and zero emissions are the reasons why so many customers love to use the red lithium battery-powered forklifts. The new forklift-sharing offers Mingpinfu's merchants yet another advantage. "Linde's sharing model fully meets my transportation needs without me having to buy the truck. I am grateful for the benefits it brings us," says Ren Guowei. Yan Junhui was also full of praise for the quick and convenient way of using the shared trucks: “With just a single tap, we can rent and return a truck. It’s foolproof." The management of Linde's partner, Mingpinfu Logistics Park, has also welcomed the forklift project from Linde MH. "The sharing model is an effective solution to the needs of our users in the logistics park for temporary, high-frequency, and low-cost truck use. At the same time, it enriches the supporting logistics management of the park," describes Zhong Jiaxiong, head of Cold Storage Department of Chongqing Mingpinfu Logistics Park.

The 50 industrial trucks in the Mingpinfu Logistics Park are the first batch of shared forklifts that Linde MH provided for the pilot project in September last year. The positive feedback from customers already shows the success. "Not only can these sharing forklifts satisfy customers' sudden and seasonal requirements, but they can also save them the expense of purchasing, repairing, and maintaining forklifts. As a result, customers can put more resources into developing their core business,” says Chen Huiqing, director of Rental and Used Trucks at Linde MH (China), summarizing the benefits.

To better understand user behavior of these forklifts, Chen's team and KION´s IT team in Asia Pacific joined forces to develop software which analyzes the usage data of the sharing forklifts. "Through the data, we gain knowledge about how frequently and for how long customers are using the trucks, as well as what the peak times are. This allows us to flexibly adjust the number of sharing forklifts supplied at any given time and thus serve customers' needs even better," explains Chen Huiqing.

Every day, more than a hundred trucks stop at the Mingpinfu Logistics Park to unload - and they all rely on the help of KION forklift trucks.

New forklift-partner model

The Mingpinfu project has attracted positive attention from users in the cold chain industry. In December 2022, the Nanxinghai Cold Chain Logistics Park in the port city of Quanzhou, less than 100km from Linde MH (China)´s headquarters in Xiamen, also decided to join the ranks of Linde’s forklift-sharing concept. Compared to the Mingpinfu Logistics Park, this cold chain logistics park is smaller in scale, with only around 40 merchants. After performing an assessment, Linde decided not to concentrate a large number of sharing forklifts here, but instead opted for an even more flexible shared forklift solution: the so-called partner model. As long as they have a place to park the forklifts and a willingness to use them, any merchant can choose to become a Linde partner. Linde provides the forklifts, while the partner pays only a fixed basic rental fee every month in exchange for free use of the forklifts. What’s more, whenever the forklifts are not in use, the partner can rent them out to neighboring traders and retain part of the income and thus greatly reducing his own costs.

Lin Wanping, owner of the Nanxinghai Cold Chain Logistics Park, became the first Linde Sharing-forklift partner. He is very delighted to have made the right decision: "Originally I had been planning to buy forklifts from another manufacturer, but after I was convinced by Linde's forklift-sharing, I no longer felt the need to consider any other solutions. I believe that Linde’s business model will definitely disrupt the forklift rental market for the entire logistics industry, because it truly focuses on the needs of customers and serves them perfectly."

New projects spread nationwide with excellent prospects for future development

According to Chen Huiqing, there are many other customers like Lin Wanping who are also very interested in the Linde forklift-sharing model. Ever since January, the team have been unusually busy, travelling all over the country to meet customers and discuss the truck sharing projects. There are now over a dozen projects for which there are ongoing discussions with clients. Two logistics park projects have been signed in Jinan and Yibin. As the first company to launch truck sharing in the forklift industry in China, Linde MH (China) has completed truck sharing hardware and software packages for six major truck series. There are now over 100 units of Linde sharing forklifts serving customers in China. The KION subsidiary is now planning to develop software and hardware packages for all mainstream models to provide customers with an even greater selection of shared forklift products.

In addition to the sharing forklifts under the premium brand Linde, KION’s value brand Baoli will also be offering sharing forklifts for Chinese customers very soon. A Baoli dealer in Guangzhou has just purchased 20 Baoli lithium battery-powered trucks to make them available to its customers as sharing forklifts. This dealer will also be partnering with KION to build a sharing service station, with KION providing both Linde and Baoli sharing forklifts. In addition, the service station will also offer customers services such as supply of forklift accessories, maintenance, repairs, and upkeep. “Given the current positive development trend of forklift sharing in China, we are very optimistic about this new market,” explains Chen Huiqing, “And we will accelerate the expansion of the business area so that even more customers can benefit from it.”