Alibaba Group’s logistics operator, Cainiao and Russia’s Pochta postal service have launched their first direct China-Russia freighter services to deliver AliExpress goods purchased
online by Russians, a Reuters report said, quoting an AliExpress Russia announcement.
The move, which AliExpress Russia hopes will help it cut the time it takes to deliver orders from China to Russia to 10 days, comes with Russia’s rapidly growing e-commerce market producing an annual turnover of more than US$14 billion.
AliExpress Russia JV is majority owned by Russian shareholders with a board of directors comprised of representation from RDIF, Alibaba, Megafon and Mail.ru.
In October, Russian internet company Mail.Ru said it had agreed a joint venture with Alipay, the mobile payments arm of Alibaba Group, along with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and two other Russian partners.
Cainiao and Pochta are jointly leasing seven freighters from Aviastar-Tu to fly to the cities of Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Krasnoyarsk on a daily basis.
Aviastar-Tu, which also operates regular freighter services for DHL, has a fleet of three B757-200 freighters and four Tupolev Tu-204-100s and operates principally out of Moscow's Ramenskoye Airport.
Atran grows freighter fleet
In a related development, Atran Airlines, the air express subsidiary of the Volga-Dnepr Group which operates from Moscow Vnukovo airport, last month added a second B737-800BCF to its current fleet of six freighters - 4 B737-400SF and 2 B737-800BCF - to support additional capacity needed for its e-commerce operations.
Last year, Volga-Dnepr formed a partnership with Cainiao, which resulted in Atran launching a weekly service from Hangzhou to Riga.
Cainiao has also formed partnerships with Singapore Airlines and Chinese express airline YTO and has selected five cities - Hangzhou, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Liege and Moscow as its global logistics hubs to meet demand for faster delivery.
Rail complements air services
Meanwhile, Alibaba this week increased its majority stake in its logistics affiliate Cainiao Smart Logistics Network to 63% from 51% with an investment of US$3.3 billion.
Commenting on the investment, Alibaba Group Executive CEO Daniel Zhang said Alibaba supports the ongoing development of Cainiao and its work to accelerate digitalisation of logistics to enhance customer user experience and service.
According to a report in the China Daily, Cainiao last month started a dedicated e-commerce train from a small commodities hub in Yiwu, China to its European hub at Liège Airport. The freight train will operate twice weekly for Cainiao to transport goods including cosmetics and home appliances for European customers.
Nol van Fenema
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