Cainiao Smart Logistics, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, announced a HKD 5 million (US$645,000) investment to keep logistics operations flowing during the upcoming Lunar New Year festivities, which typically spans 2 weeks.
In a statement, it said that the launch of this value-added service means that businesses in Mainland China and Hong Kong will be able to continue their sales and deliveries even during the traditional Lunar New Year shutdown.
After the Hong Kong pilot, the plan is to expand the service to other regions in the near future.
"This service would encompass a 1500-strong workforce across the full chain of logistics operations, spanning Cainiao’s warehouses, 170 island-wide collection points, partner and courier network as well as customer service," it said in a statement.
It noted that with this, consumers in Hong Kong will also be unaffected by the logistics service closures and be able to receive their parcels within three working days.
“With the pandemic, logistics has increasingly served as an essential service that connects people to goods, services and most importantly, their loved ones. During festivities such as this Lunar New Year, we hope that by keeping the logistics service running, we are creating opportunities for businesses to increase sales revenue and for consumers to connect with their loved ones by sending gifts across the border or to enjoy local produce without having to commute home,” said Ray Cheuk, head of Operations (Hong Kong), Cainiao Global Supply Chain.
Traditionally, logistics services will be shut down for as long as three weeks, with services such as acceptance of orders and parcel deliveries closing as early as two weeks prior to the Lunar New Year, and only resuming on the seventh day of the lunar calendar.
This meant that businesses will have to manage inventory, production timeline and shipping deadlines in order to ensure that they deliver to their customers successfully during the seasonal rush.
It said the Lunar New Year shutdowns are usually followed by mass demand from businesses that need to make up for the two to three weeks’ worth of delayed shipment.