Image_Cainiao Post in Causeway Bay

Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics arm, is systematically building logistics infrastructure across Asia and Europe as it looks to boost e-commerce deliveries.

Today it announced it was building its first Post network outside mainland China, in Hong Kong.

With 10 Cainiao Post stations and 60 collection points, it hopes to capitalise on continued growth in the sector, which this year saw 11.1% growth in Hong Kong.

Cainiao claims its Post operations can alleviate “last-mile logistics pain-points and that its mainland Chinese operation saw 100% growth in volumes year on year since March 2020. The Hong Kong operation will allow it to serve 1.8m customers.

Cainiao said: “This launch is in line with Cainiao’s plans to speed up the digitalisation of China’s logistics industry and establish greater standardisation and digitalisation protocols to help logistics firms deploy IoT (Internet of Things) solutions at scale.”

The news follows last week’s announcement that Cainiao is to launch parcel sorting centres in Spain, France, Germany and Italy. It already operates warehouses there and is planning to double parcel-sorting capacity by the end of March to around a million parcels a day.

E-commerce parcels, initially for customers of AliExpress, will be delivered to the centres by truck from Cainiao’s Liege eHub, or nearby airports, for processing, before further delivery by smaller truck.

Cainiao has also been installing a network of parcel lockers in Spain and France.

E-commerce growth is expected to continue apace and drive demand in airfreight. According to the latest market data from Accenture’s Seabury arm, e-commerce is expected to grow at 20% a year, resulting in a $27,000bn market by 2027.

Cross-border e-commerce – for which air cargo accounts for 80% – is forecast to outgrow global e-commerce, at 20% CAGR. China accounts for 60% of the cross-border e-commerce market.

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