Cainiao tackles South America cargo crunch with Atlas and Latam

By Damian Brett

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network,the logistics arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has linked Latam Cargo to its partnership with Atlas Air to secure capacity and speed up connections into South America.

The Special Prorate Agreement (SPA), which allows two or more airlines to connect services, will see Cainiao link the services flown by Atlas Air from Asia to Santiago and Sao Paulo with LATAM’s flights to Lima and Bogota.

Beginning last November, Atlas Air started operating three weekly charter flights dedicated to Cainiao, linking China with Brazil and Chile.

“The pandemic has resulted in a shortage of cargo flights from China to South America, and our collaboration with Atlas Air and Latam can help meet the robust demand and raise logistics efficiency,” said William Xiong, Cainiao’s chief strategist and general manager of export logistics.

“This year, Cainiao plans to launch over 3,000 chartered flights to safeguard cross-border logistics and help Chinese merchants sell globally.”

The logistics firm pointed out that in March its parcel volumes to South America increased by 14% compared to that in February as global trade resumes, “driving up the demand for airfreight, which is almost returning to pre-pandemic levels”. 

As well as securing capacity, Cainiao said the collaboration ensures that the time taken for customs clearance, repackaging, container change and temporary warehousing in Santiago or Sao Paulo can be reduced as parcels delivered by Atlas Air will be seamlessly transferred to Latam flights heading to Bogota and Lima, packed in the same container.

“Merchants and customers can track the order with the same shipping label back from Hong Kong,” the company said in a press release. “The most popular products for Latin consumers from China are electronic devices, toys and beauty products. The overall shipping time to Colombia and Peru will be reduced by nearly 50%, and parcels can arrive in as fast as 10 days from China.”

“The collaborative and efficient work between Latam and Cainiao, in addition to the interline agreement reached with Atlas Air, will allow the implementation of a logistics chain that will satisfy the high demand of e-commerce and reduce delivery times from Hong Kong to Bogotá and Lima by 50%, a result that is of direct benefit to the end customer,” commented Jorge Galvez, director of marketing and development of Latam Cargo.

Michael Steen, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Atlas Air Worldwide, added: “We are pleased to be the chosen partner for Cainiao’s intercontinental operations connecting China to North and South America.”

In March 2021, Cainiao partnered with Saudia Cargo to operate five weekly flights from Hong Kong to Liege in Belgium, with Riyadh city as a connection point.

It also recently expanded its network in Southeast Asia through a deal with with Hong Kong Air Cargo.

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector. After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015. Contact me on [email protected]