Alibaba targets South America e-commerce with Atlas Air deal

By Damian Brett

Alibaba’s supply chain business Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has inked a freighter charter deal with Atlas Air as it targets the South American e-commerce market.

The deal will see Atlas fly dedicated charter flights between China, Brazil and Chile three times per week to “enhance Alibaba’s extensive logistics network as cross-border trade between China and Latin America continues to expand”.

The service will start in November and will reduce shipping times between China and destination markets from a week to an average of three days.

The move comes as Cainiao has seen its parcel volumes to South America take off this year; in the third quarter of 2020 it transported more than 8m packages, double the number transported during the second quarter of this year.

“At Cainiao, we continue to invest in our network to support Alibaba merchants operating more than 100,000 online shops,” said William Xiong, Cainiao’s chief strategist and general manager of export logistics.

“Our partnership with Atlas Air will help us establish an efficient, reliable network to South America and other worldwide destinations by significantly reducing airfreight delivery time for the merchants we support.”

“We are excited to support Cainiao and Alibaba’s fast-growing e-commerce business and its global expansion in South America, and we look forward to developing our partnership further,” said Atlas Air Worldwide president and chief executive John Dietrich.

“The global scale of our operating networks will enable Cainiao to continue to enhance its logistics capabilities and meet its objectives to offer customers faster deliveries globally.”

Cainiao added that it is committed to facilitating international trade by improving overall supply chain efficiency and launching direct routes to major regions across the globe. Cainiao is expected to operate about 1,300 chartered flights by the end of 2020.

Alibaba meanwhile has ambitious plans to shorten delivery times as service levels become increasingly important to e-commerce shoppers. The Chinese e-commerce giant has the ambition of achieving 24 hour delivery anywhere in China and 72 hours globally.

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