Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics arm, has called on the air cargo industry to support data-sharing and visibility across its e-commerce supply chain network.
Roger Su, head of global network planning and operations for the company, told delegates at the World Cargo Symposium in Dallas yesterday it needed better visibility across its ecosystem of handlers, carriers, truckers and forwarders.
Chinese company #Alibaba has pledges to deliver within 24 hours in China and 72 hours globally, and is investing $15.2bn in logistics over the next four years, much of which will go into technology, said Mr Su.
“We need infrastructure investment and to get physical process points closer together to consolidate. And we are looking at how we can use technology to innovate and exchange data and streamline processes.”
World Customs Organisation (WCO) director of compliance and facilitation Ana Hinojosa said that, today, Customs was not quite ready for Alibaba’s plans.
“The maturity and development of countries around the world varies greatly, but over the last two years we have focused heavily on e-commerce.
“There has been a tsunami of small packages – for many countries, the volume has been exponential.”
Several players in the air cargo industry have already stepped up to the challenge. Swiss World Cargo, which as a capacity-limited belly carrier has an interest in small packages, is set to offer an e-commerce product.
It has been piloting a proof of concept in two lanes, between London and Hong Kong, and London and Spain, which, according to Silvia Chacon Ramos, senior manager for postal services and e-commerce, has been very successful.
“The concept is integrating virtually with last-mile delivery partners,” she told The Loadstar. “That includes Customs clearance. We won’t do the delivery ourselves, but we have created a platform that can link and connect all the partners from origin to destination, starting from the etailer.
“It’s a #blockchain-based platform, visible regardless of where you are in the chain. It allows the final consumer to see every point of touch.”
One of the upcoming challenges for the e-commerce industry is new EU regulations which state that, from 2021, online marketplaces must collect VAT on their platforms and that the current VAT exemption for small consignments will be shelved.