Azul Cargo set for e-commerce boost

By Damian Brett

Brazilian airline Azul Cargo Express has announced a new contract and a new service catering for the e-commerce market.

Last week, the carrier announced that it had struck a deal with Latin America’s largest e-commerce firm, Mercado Libre, to become the only air carrier within Brazil for products sold on the retailer’s website.

“We are very excited to have Mercado Libre as our largest e-commerce partner. When it comes to shipping, customers want fast delivery and reliable service, and this is what we do best. We fly to more than 100 domestic destinations, have 250 franchise stores nationwide, and are able to reach more than 3,500 municipalities within 24 hours. Moreover, we are the only airline in 72% of the routes we serve. Our breadth of reach and delivery speed is unique in the country,” said John Rodgerson, Azul’s chief executive.

“To our customers, this partnership means faster deliveries through Mercado Libre’s and Azul’s extensive network, covering the entire country with almost 900 daily flights. With Azul, we expect to significantly increase both the number and speed of deliveries,” added Leandro Bassoi, vice president of Mercado Envios, Mercado Libre’s Latin America shipping unit.

Mercado Libre currently represents 10% of Azul Cargo Express’ revenue.

Meanwhile, the airline will offer its flights on Chinese e-commerce companies’ websites – allowing buyers to select the airline to deliver goods via its Chinese warehouse.

The service will be called Azul Box China and claims to slash delivery times from 20 days to around five days. The Azul Box service is already available in the US.

Azul Cargo Express director Izabel Reis said: “With Azul Box China, we are expanding our field and our customer network. The differential of the service, no doubt, is the delivery time, cargo safety and product integrity. Under our door-to-door business model, customers will be assured that they will purchase a product from abroad and receive it at home in a much shorter time than the competition.

“With the expansion of Azul Box to China, we hope to show the quality of our service to different customer profiles, from those who want to buy a piece of clothing to what needs to carry larger orders.”

The focus on e-commerce comes as the airline has witnessed strong growth in the sector over recent years.

Azul’s cargo business grew 44% during the first half of the year, benefiting from Azul’s network and fleet expansion. E-commerce was by far the fastest source of revenue growth increasing 314% over last year.

Earlier this year Azul pulled out of a proposed joint venture with national postal service Correios to launch a logistics platform serving Brazil’s e-commerce sector.

Azul said that its cargo business grew revenues by a record 57% in 2018, “significantly higher than originally projected when the company initiated its discussions with Correios”.

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