Cainiao adds Africa air cargo service to drive down delivery times

By Damian Brett

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has launched its first air cargo route between Hong Kong and Africa as it looks to reduce transit times on the fast-growing trade.

The company, which is e-commerce giant Aliababa’s logistics arm, said the new flights will operate six times per week to Lagos in Nigeria.

The service will help reduce total delivery times from 60 days to 20 days – the previous service needed to transit the Middle East.

“Cainiao’s dedicated cross-border parcel logistics connection and line haul transportation can save about 30 days compared with the traditional mode which requires transit in multiple countries,” the logistics firm explained.

“In the past, these goods often need to be transferred through many countries in the process of air freight transportation, which takes up a lot of time in areas such as customs clearance and cargo collection.

“Cainiao’s dedicated logistics connection meant that parcels will only need to be transferred at most once during cross-border deliveries.

“In addition, last mile delivery can be 5-10 days faster than before, where the goods can be dispatched to customers as soon as the second day after clearing customs. The delivery duration indicated has also factored in the time delay as a result of delayed collection by the customers at collection points such as post offices.”

Cainiao said that Africa has witnessed a booming demand from local consumers purchasing items such as apparel, home appliances and electronic accessories from China.

The company pointed to data from the China Africa Research Initiative that showed in 2019, Nigeria was the largest buyer of Chinese goods, followed by South Africa and Egypt

Meanwhile, Cainiao saw a 163% year-on-year increase in cross-border e-commerce parcel volume between China and Africa in the month of May.

“The newly launched air route is a further expansion of Cainiao’s global cross-border parcel network and demonstrates our ability to leverage industry partnerships to aggregate resources to mitigate disruptions while enhancing overall logistics efficiency,” said William Xiong, Cainiao’s chief strategist and general manager of export logistics.

“Together with local logistics partners, we strive to provide African consumers with efficient door-to-door delivery services, with the aim to extend full-chain delivery services to more African countries in the near future.”

This year, Cainiao launched cargo flights to Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

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