Cainiao Smart Logistics Network on Tuesday revealed plans to ramp up investments to expand its global logistics network and significantly slash delivery times over the next three years, moving Alibaba Group’s logistics arm closer to its goal of fulfilling deliveries within 24 hours in China and 72 hours globally.
Part of the initiative will be to quadruple Cainiao’s fleet of chartered flights from 260 to 1,260 over the next nine months, which would bring its average international airfreight delivery time down to three to five days as opposed to the current timeframe of seven to 10 days, the platform said.
Cainiao said it will also double the floor space of its overseas warehouses to 2 million square meters. The expanded capacity, as well as Cainiao’s close partnerships with over 30 customs-clearance facilities, are set to help expedite the 30 million China-bound goods that are processed by the logistics platform every day. Meanwhile, small and medium-sized businesses will also be able to leverage the additional warehouse space to pre-stock their products for export and fulfill their orders faster. Per the platform’s estimates, this would ensure that 90% of orders shipped from China will arrive in less than 72 hours to some 100 cities globally.
During the platform’s annual industry summit, which took place online for the first time, Cainiao President Wan Lin said logistics is no longer an afterthought, but has become an integral part of digital infrastructure in today’s world.
WATCH: Cainiao keeps parcels flowing amid Covid-19
“Today, logistics has become a game-changer and key differentiator that sets one business apart from another,” said Wan. “Our investment to establish a global smart logistics network, including international shipping routes and warehousing facilities, will provide businesses with greater operational efficiency, cost savings, transparency and accuracy in their supply chain management.”
Also attending the event was Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang who took the opportunity to express thanks to industry partners for their collaboration and solidarity in the response to Covid-19.
Earlier this year, more than 50 logistics peers worldwide signed on to support Cainiao’s Green Channel initiative, which arranged free delivery of donated medical supplies and protective clothing, especially for frontline healthcare workers. To date, Cainiao and its partners – hailing from countries including the U.S., Australia, Denmark, Turkey and South Korea – have delivered 130 million essential supplies to more than 150 countries and regions as well as deployed more than 200 chartered flights globally to support the program.
Digitizing the Last Mile
To enhance its last-mile services, the logistics arm also announced plans to open 30,000 additional Cainiao Post stations across 100 Chinese cities. Embedded within residential neighborhoods and university campuses, the stations are powered by Alibaba’s cutting-edge technologies to enable contactless mailing and collection of parcels, e-shipping labels that allow consumers to keep track of their shipments in real-time and autonomous vehicles that bring parcels directly to their doorsteps. As part of the rollout, Cainiao launched a hiring drive for new station managers. Within a month, it has received 100 million applications from candidates nationwide.
WATCH: Cainiao’s self-driving vehicles deliver packages to consumers
This year, Cainiao’s also transforming some of its post stations into community hubs which not only provide parcel-storage and delivery services but also laundry-delivery services and dedicated group-buying sections for consumers to purchase their daily groceries from retailers such as RT-Mart on the cheap. These services are being piloted in select cities across the country, including Suzhou and Chengdu.
“We see immense opportunities in the area of last-mile innovation, from order fulfillment to delivery models and value-added services that will truly digitize communities and offer greater convenience and security,” Wan said.
Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest Alibaba updates in your inbox every week.