Cainiao Network, Alibaba’s logistics arm, announced it has expanded the number of aircraft used to transport goods to Russia due to increased volume of cross-border deliveries.
Currently, Cainiao uses more than 10 cargo aircraft to transport parcels to Russia but starting August, the new Boeing 757-200 will also begin transporting AliExpress orders from Chinese platform sellers to Russia.
Cainiao regularly operates more than 20 flights a week to Moscow, Novosibirsk, as well as to the company's hubs in Europe.
With the launch of the new aircraft, the company said it plans to expand the schedules and geography of flights to new regions.
“Our investments in one of the largest markets are not only investments into infrastructure, localization of our IT platform and support of Russian sellers, but also broad investments into the development of new air routes,” said Vyacheslav Savin, General Director of Cainiao in Russia.
He noted that the plan includes launching permanent routes to new cities: Yekaterinburg, Russia's fourth-largest city, and in Kazan, a city in southwest Russia.
“Our task is to bring the average delivery time of a parcel to the largest cities to 10 days within the next year. And we will continue to expand cooperation with partners in Russia and replenish the aircraft fleet,” Savin added.
The expansion of Cainiao fleet will also help serve the volume of cross-border shipments.
Between May and June, Cainiao noted that the total volume of parcels to Russia increased by nearly 30% compared to the same period last year.
During the pandemic and lockdown period (between January to May 2020 compared to the same period last year), the company also recorded an increase in the average weight of each order by more than two times, and the total freight traffic increased by more than 60%.
“During the lockdown period, Cainiao actively expanded its cooperation with passenger airlines such as Hainan Airlines and Qatar Airways where their planes transported AliExpress orders during the border closure. In Russia, the Royal Flight airline joined the project to deliver small-sized parcels and medical goods from China and Europe,” it said in a statement.
Cainiao is currently the second-largest cross-border cargo carrier in the world, with an average daily volume of about two million shipments.
More than 25% of all parcels processed by Cainiao are to Russia. It operates cargo flights to Russia in partnership with Aviastar-TU and ATRAN airlines.