Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, last week announced the launch of its first air cargo route between China and Africa, amidst booming demand for Chinese products and close bilateral tie between the two countries.
Operating over six times weekly, the air freight service will ship parcels from Hong Kong to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial center. Cainiao says the delivery time will take 20 days from China to Africa, which shows an improvement from the previous time of 60 days, which included transit into the Middle East.
Cainiao’s e-commerce parcel volume between the two countries was up by a whopping 163 percent year-on-year in May, the Alibaba logistics unit noted, and the launch of the air cargo route is expected to support the surge in trade volume and the growth of the e-commerce market in Africa, which is projected to reach US$34.6 billion by 2024.
The Alibaba logistics arm also cited data released by customs agency showing 26.9 percent bilateral trade growth between China and Africa in the first quarter of 2021 to US$52.1 billion.
“The newly launched air route is a further expansion of Cainiao’s global cross-border parcel network and demonstrates our ability to leverage industry partnerships to aggregate resources to mitigate disruptions while enhancing overall logistics efficiency,” said William Xiong, chief strategist and general manager of export logistics.
“Together with local logistics partners, we strive to provide African consumers with efficient door-to-door delivery services, with the aim to extend full-chain delivery services to more African countries in the near future,” he added.
This year, Cainiao launched cargo flights to Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East to further enhance cross-border parcel shipping efficiency. As of March 2021, the company processes more than 5 million cross-border parcels each day.
Payload Asia approached Cainiao to ask which airline or carrier will be operating the cargo flights, but the company said it cannot disclose the airline this time around.