Alibaba logistics arm Cainiao Network is strengthening its logistics infrastructure in Europe with the opening of its first warehouse located at Liege Airport in Belgium.
The 30,000-sqm warehouse is divided into two parts: a 12,000-sqm air cargo station for the rapid transit of goods for both export and import between the airside and the landside of the airport, and a 18,000-sqm parcel sorting center. A 3,000-sqm four-storey office building runs adjacent to the warehouse.
The air cargo station is equipped with an automated material handling system which will reduce heavy manual lifting, as well as radio frequency identification (RFID) detectors for automatically identifying cargo.
A sorting center, located at the landside of the warehouse, is equipped with two automatic sorting machines. This flagship sorting center for Europe by Cainiao will join its network of sorting centers across France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Amongst the latest logistics digital technologies, the main feature is a handheld device designed and developed by Cainiao, named the LEMO PDA, to digitize the flow of goods.
Cainiao said it is working closely with logistics firms in Europe, developing its intra-Europe trucking network of more than 30 countries, and installing a network of parcel lockers in Spain and France to improve customer experience and improve last-mile delivery.
The smart logistics hub is a key part of the agreement made in 2018 between Alibaba Group and the Belgian government to join the global Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative, which aims to lower barriers to global trade for small and medium-sized businesses via e-commerce.
Alongside general cargo and express, e-commerce represents a diversification opportunity for the airport but also the promise of job development which is one of the reasons that our company exists. Cainiao is an ambitious and innovative partner, a partner who pushes us to reinvent ourselves and to be better,” said Frédéric Jacquet, Liege airport’s chief.