Alibaba’s Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has announced its first air cargo route between Africa and China.
Flights will operate six times weekly between Hong Kong and Lagos, Nigeria. Parcels will be able to get from China to Nigerian customers in as few as 20 days – until the route opened it took over 60 days.
Africa is one of Cainiao’s key emerging markets with customers on the continent buying consumer and fashion goods. On the continent, in 2019 the most important country was Nigeria followed by South Africa and Egypt. In May, e-commerce parcel volumes grew by 163% year on year to 2020.
Africa is a strong-growth market with e-commerce set to grow by 17.1% annually until 2024 to a market size of US $34.6 billion. Chinese customs authorities say that bilateral trade between China and Africa grew by 26.9% in the first quarter of 2021 to US $52.1 billion.
“The newly launched air route is a further expansion of Cainiao’s global cross-border parcel network and demonstrates our ability to leverage industry partnerships to aggregate resources to mitigate disruptions while enhancing overall logistics efficiency,” said William Xiong, Cainiao’s chief strategist and general manager of export logistics. “Together with local logistics partners, we strive to provide African consumers with efficient door-to-door delivery services, with the aim to extend full-chain delivery services to more African countries in the near future.”