Logistics companies in Japan, striving to cut costs and make the most out of the pandemic-inspired online shopping boom, are finding an unlikely white knight in Chinese electric-vehicle manufacturers, whose vans make last-mile deliveries not only cheaper, but cleaner as well.

Tokyo’s SBS Holdings Inc., a listed logistics company that offers deliveries, recently struck a deal to buy 2,000 light EV trucks over five years from Japanese EV startup folofly. The cars will be made by a unit of Dongfeng Motor Group Co. as well as other Chinese automakers. Sagawa Express Co., meanwhile, will utilize 7,200 low-priced electric minivans made by Guangxi Automobile Group Co.

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