Cainiao expands air charter operation ahead of 11.11 e-commerce event

By Damian Brett

Aviastar-Tu Tu-204C. Source: Aviastar

Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao Smart Logistics Network will ramp up its use of charter flights as it prepares for the world’s biggest shopping event.

The company has announced several initiatives to ramp up its global logistics infrastructure, in anticipation of “explosive growth” in e-commerce parcel volume during the upcoming 11.11 shopping event.

Cainiao plans to operate over 700 chartered flights to deliver 90% of its parcels outside China during 11.11 while it will also look to increase shipment consolidation.

It estimates that as a result more than half of these cross-border parcels will see a 60% reduction in delivery time due to “smart order consolidation”.

“Customers in key European cities such as Madrid, Paris, Berlin and Warsaw will receive their parcels in as fast as three days,” it said. “Best-selling products such as sweeping robots, vacuum cleaners and toolboxes are also pre-stocked in Cainiao’s overseas warehouses prior to the event.”

Cainiao said it is also witnessing growing participation from overseas merchants in the global event and, in total this year, will operate more than 3,000 chartered flights and long-haul cargo ships bound for China to cater to the growing demand from Chinese consumers.

“This will bring about a 10% increase in delivery efficiency for goods shipped into China,” it said. “Over 300m goods from 84 countries and regions are imported to China via Cainiao’s extensive global supply chain network. The most popular imported goods include pet food, healthcare and beauty products.”

Overseas merchants have also begun pre-stocking popular products in the warehouses in China and close to 1m goods are being pre-stocked daily in Cainiao’s bonded warehouses in Hangzhou.

James Zhao, general manager, Cainiao Global Supply Chain, said: “In gearing up for 11.11 each year, technology plays a critical role in the successful execution and delivery of billions of e-commerce parcels worldwide.

“Today, 90% of our parcels are tagged with electronic shipping labels and this has fast become a de facto industry standard to achieve full visibility.

“IoT technology has also accelerated the automation of every aspect of the value chain, from sortation facilities, warehousing to customs clearance and last mile delivery, significantly boosting operations efficiency and transforming the industry. This year, we will be marrying cutting-edge technology with a world-class logistics network to create a truly global infrastructure that can bolster the eCommerce boom.”

According to Tech Radar the gross merchandise value of 11.11 reached $38.3bn, double that of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

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