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Malaysia hopes to position itself as an air cargo hub in the Asia Pacific, after Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba’s logistics offshoot, Cainiao, opened an air freight centre at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
Cainiao Aeropolis eWTP (electronic World Trade Platform) began operating a year ago, but was officially opened on Monday.
Now, Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB) hopes to double air cargo volumes, to 1.3m tonnes, by 2030 with growing e-commerce sales amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
MAHB MD Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said the Cainiao centre would be a game-changer for Malaysian e-commerce logistics, because of its location within the free commercial zone.
Transport minister Dr Wee Ka Siong said MAHB and Alibaba were committed to developing the world’s first electronic world trade platform outside China. he said: “It symbolises strong ties between Malaysia and China.
“This collaboration will substantially boost cargo volume for KLIA and reinforce the country’s cargo and logistics ecosystem, spanning air, sea and land connectivity.
“It will benefit the entire logistics value chain, comprising cargo airlines, cargo terminal operators, as well as freight forwarders or last-mile delivery service providers.”
The Cainiao centre occupies 24.3 ha within the airport and includes a 100,000 sq metre warehouse to facilitate cargo terminal operations, warehousing, sorting and a digital customs clearance system that slashes clearance time from 24-48 hours to just an hour and a half.
This enables 24-hour and 72-hour deliveries within Malaysia and the rest of the world, respectively, as Cainiao strives to increase trade flows in South-east Asia.
Dr Wee said Malaysia’s freight and logistics market was worth $37.6bn last year and was now set to exceed $55bn by 2026, and added: “The advent of e-commerce in recent years has proven to be a boon to air cargo growth as it is the single largest catalytic driver.”
Cainiao CEO Wan Lin said the company hoped to serve small and medium enterprises by offering “an efficient and all-round global logistics network”. And he added: “Together with our partners, we have created a global network of smart logistics hubs, starting here in Malaysia under the eWTP initiative.”