Chinese logistics group Cainiao Smart Logistics – the logistics unit of Alibaba – has chosen five cities to become its global e-commerce hubs – Hangzhou, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Liege and Moscow.
The company announced the decision today at the Global Smart Logistics Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province as part of a strategy to develop more efficient logistics operations and offer same-day delivery in China and 72-hour delivery internationally.
The move is part of plans by Alibaba and Cainiao to spend more than 100 billion yuan ($15.6 billion) to build out a national ‘smart logistics network’, as it embarks on an aggressive logistics expansion in China and abroad.
Liege Airport will be the European hub for the global e-commerce logistics network and said Cainiao exploits a collaborative data platform to ensure intelligent management of the logistic flows. This electronic tool supplies real time access to information for logistics partners, buyers and sellers.
The Belgian gateway said e-commerce shipments from the Cainiao network are already entering the European market via Liege and establishing the hub will increase those volumes and result in more flights between Asia and Liege.
Liege says it has a strong potential to become an international hub and this decision confirms the importance of the e-commerce sector for developments at the airport.
The hubs are intended to support the expansion of service ‘Delivery in 5 days’ of Cainiao, which hopes to grow from 30 to 100 cities in the world over the coming three years for its deliveries.
Liege Airport chief executive officer, Luc Partoune said: “We particularly wish to thank all our partners, who have enabled us to receive one of the largest logistics firms in the world. Cainiao has chosen our airport for its flexibility, the quality of its services, its advantages consisting of its ideal localisation in Europe, the fact that it is open 24/7 and its connectivity with the other continents.”
“The e-commerce strategy in air cargo will truly revolutionise air transport and logistics processing. The digitisation of operations, their monitoring and robotisation are profoundly changing our businesses. Liege Airport is destined to become the cargo airport of the future and the partnership with Cainiao will contribute to this,” added Partoune.
Liege Airport says the new partnership between a major logistics company and the airport will integrate local SMEs and promote their exports via e-commerce.