Alibaba Group logistics arm Cainiao Smart Logistics Network said Thursday it will start a new international shipping route next month to speed up average delivery times between China and Europe by over 30%.
Launched with leading air-freight carrier Volga-Dnepr Group, the new route is aimed at addressing the boom in demand for cross-border deliveries amid Covid-19, Cainiao said. From August, VDG-owned AirBridgeCargo Airlines will operate three flights each week from Hong Kong to Madrid via Belgium’s Liege Airport.
All goods shipped through the new route will arrive at warehouses in Europe in three to 10 days, versus the industry average of 15 to 20 days, Cainiao said.
The expedited delivery time is thanks in part to Cainiao’s line-haul network. The company’s intra-Europe trucking network taps advanced algorithms to generate the most-efficient loading plans and transportation routes for its fleet, as well as the optimal number of trucks to deploy in real time. The network connects the warehouses and transport hubs in Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Last-mile logistics partners, such as Spain’s Correos, then help deliver parcels to customers.
Tatyana Arslanova, executive operating officer at VDG, said since the start of the Cainiao partnership in 2018, both parties have worked closely to develop faster and more-flexible digital solutions and expand their networks.
“We will further support Cainiao with the fleet of 39 best-in-class freighters to accommodate the skyrocketing e-commerce volumes, which have tripled within the group for the first five months of 2020 and surpassed the mark of 20,000 tons,” Arslanova said.
The expanded air capacity comes as Cainiao continues to develop smart-logistics infrastructure for Europe. In 2018, Alibaba and the Belgian Government established the first Electronic World Trade Platform hub in the region, helping digitize Liege Airport’s customs-clearance and logistics operations and streamline international shipping. During the coronavirus outbreak, the eWTP hub also became a vital lifeline for the deliveries of essential supplies to and from the country and the continent, distributing more than a billion face masks to some of the European countries hit hardest by Covid-19.
William Xiong, Cainiao’s chief strategist and general manager of export logistics, said keeping operations going at a time of severe disruption has been critical to not only safeguard the industry but also to support cross-border merchants around the world.
“Cainiao has been working with partners globally to raise logistics efficiency and optimize user experience,” said Xiong, adding that in the coming months, the platform looks to quadruple its fleet of chartered flights from 260 to 1,260 worldwide.
Separately, Cainiao said it has deepened its partnership with Latvian Post, the national postal service in Latvia, to help the courier upgrade its digital infrastructure. Latvian Post has helped the logistics network recently expand delivery coverage to serve more AliExpress users in European countries, including Ukraine and Georgia.
Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest Alibaba updates in your inbox every week.