The investments in cross-border logistics made over the past year by Cainiao, the logistics unit of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is paying off in record delivery speeds for the company. Following Alibaba’s record-breaking sales on Singles’ Day, or 11.11 for 11 November, Cainiao, also reported topping its own delivery speed from years prior. Cainiao said it shaved nearly five hours from the time required to deliver the first 100 million packages in 2017.
This year, the logistics company took 2.6 days to deliver its first 100 million parcel deliveries versus 2.8 days in 2017. While five hours may not sound like a lot, each hour saved takes the company nearer to its goal of reducing delivery times between any two cities in China or between any two global cities to 24 hours and 72 hours, respectively. Given that Alibaba’s order deliveries continue to rise each year, reaching a record high at 1.04 billion this year, this year’s improvement is a necessary step toward that goal.
To prepare for the shopping holiday, Cainiao invested in infrastructure and technology aimed at cutting down longer delivery times, including both inbound and outbound cross-border shipments.
The company expanded its capacity by increasing its bonded warehouse footprint by 80% to 1 million square meters, where it implemented automation, robotics, and video-monitoring systems into warehouse operations. Customs clearance times for international goods ordered also improved, with Cainiao reporting 5 million import parcels as processed through customs in under five hours, compared to eight and fifty-seven hours to process the same amount in 2017 and 2016, respectively. The company says that consumers in 251 cities in China received their 11.11 overseas orders within same-day or next-day time frames.