Alibaba’s Cainiao Leads E-Commerce Expansion in Europe and the Middle East

On March 1, Alibaba’s logistics service Cainiao Smart Logistics Network (Cainiao) announced a partnership with Saudi Arabian airfreight flag carrier Saudia Cargo. The two will create a so-called sky bridge, connecting the global e-commerce markets in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

The partnership has led to an increase of five weekly flights from Hong Kong to Liege in Belgium with a transit flight in Riyadh. With the launch of new flights, customers in the Middle East may receive their online orders from China in as fast as 10 days.

Thanks to rising demand for electronic goods, apparel, and household products among Middle Eastern customers, Cainiao saw a surge of 20% in shipping volume year-on-year.

“The partnership with Saudia Cargo is essential in Cainiao’s global logistics network expansion. With the launch of new flights, merchants and customers from China, Saudi Arabia, and Europe will benefit from this seamless and efficient logistics service, which in turn, establishes a stronger mutual bond between different regions,” said Cainiao’s Chief Strategist and General Manager of Export Logistics Willian Xiong.

Saudia Cargo’s CEO Omar Hariri believes this partnership will maximize resources for businesses while individual shoppers get more value for their money in these tough economic times.

“This partnership is another significant milestone for Saudia Cargo. It is a confident step towards achieving our goals of turning the Kingdom into a modern global logistic hub. To become a central focal point that connects the East with the West by leveraging the Kingdom’s unique strategic location in the heart of the world. This partnership will pave the way for open channels of global trade and form a massive contribution to the Saudi Vision 2030,” said Hariri.

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Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East with more than half of its population aged 25-54 – a group that usually purchases online. Burgeoning small and medium enterprises also turned to e-commerce for their supplies and inventories in the past few years.

(Source: Cainiao)

Liege Airport is the sixth biggest cargo airport in Europe and the first in Belgium to connect East and West. It has processed more than 500 million e-Commerce packages in 2020, breaking a record despite the pandemic. It is the only European airport giving priority to full cargo and express transport.