YTO adds Singapore freighter operation for Cainiao

By Damian Brett

Chinese express carrier YTO Cargo Airlines has launched a thrice weekly service between Singapore and Hangzhou as partner Cainiao continues to push for faster e-commerce deliveries.

YTO Cargo Airlines said a direct airfreight route between Hangzhou and Singapore will improve Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao’s “stability and efficiency” in achieving its goal of global delivery within 72 hours in Southeast Asia, amid a surge in cross-border e-commerce orders.

It will also cater for the expected increase in air cargo demand during year-end online shopping festivals such as Singles Day on 11 November.

Earlier this year, Alibaba Group Holding upped its stake in delivery firm YTO Express.

Lim Ching Kiat, Changi Airport Group’s (CAG) managing director of air hub development, said: “We are pleased to welcome YTO Cargo Airlines to Changi’s family of airlines. In these challenging times, the additional capacity provided by YTO Cargo Airlines will help support global supply chains and facilitate the transfer of essential goods between countries.

“As an express carrier, YTO Cargo Airlines will enable fast air transportation of cross-border e-commerce shipments so that customers can benefit from timely deliveries, amid the rise of online shopping and disruptions in the aviation industry.”

David Su, YTO Cargo Airlines’ chairman, added: “We are delighted to launch our newest route to Changi Airport, together with our shareholder and core strategic partner Cainiao. Singapore is one of the key hubs in the Southeast Asia market, while Hangzhou is the cradle of e-commerce in China. We are committed to responding to customer demands by providing five-star service and supporting bilateral trade between China and Singapore.”

CAG said it had been working closely with its air cargo partners to minimise disruption to supply chains between Singapore and China as a result of the Covid outbreak and loss of bellyhold capacity.

Singapore’s air trade – imports and exports – with China, Changi’s top air cargo market, has remained relatively resilient during the pandemic, growing 7% year-on-year to more than 108,000 tonnes in the first nine months this year. This is largely due to strong import flows of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the earlier months, as well as e-commerce products.

In the past seven months, Changi has added four new freighter links to China, bringing the total to seven as of October 2020. Including freighter, passenger and cargo-only passenger flights, there are currently 14 city links between Singapore and China, providing greater convenience and capacity for the air transportation of goods between the two countries.

“Airfreight capacity between the two countries was adversely impacted at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the airport operator said. “Through the combined efforts of CAG and its air cargo partners, the capacity gap has now been narrowed significantly.”

For the first nine months of 2020, Changi Airport handled 1.13 million tonnes of airfreight throughput in total, with overall volumes down 24.5% year on year.

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