Saudia Cargo, Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) and Alibaba's logistics arm Cainiao have officially launched their collaboration at Cainiao’s Liege eHub in Liege Airport, Belgium, and aims to create a business model for future e-commerce logistics gateways at global airports.

The new collaboration that was first announced in November 2023 aims at optimizing logistics processes through operational streamlining and the adoption of logistics innovations.

Teddy Zebitz, CEO of Saudia Cargo, remarked: “Our collaboration marks a strategic milestone, addressing the burgeoning significance of e-commerce in the air cargo sector. Our aim is clear-to introduce a business model that enhances efficiency, reliability, and innovation on a global scale, reshaping the landscape of international trade. With the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia serving as a pivotal market, our operations into Liege solidify its status as a crucial hub for efficient connections to Europe, while also strengthening our position in the KSA market.”

“Central to this endeavour is our partnership with Cainiao, leveraging their unparalleled capacity and global network. Our meticulous process, from pre-built ULDs in Hong Kong to seamless handover in Liege via Riyadh, ensures an uninterrupted flow of e-commerce materials. In parallel, as we expand our capacity and cargo flights worldwide, the collaboration with WFS/SATS underscores our commitment to innovation and efficiency, revolutionizing e-commerce handling with cutting-edge technologies.”

An inauguration ceremony was held today at the airside of the eHub, currently leased by WFS, with logistics procedures, facilities, and innovations invested in by Cainiao, demonstrating a commitment to delivering the best quality service solutions to clients and partners. WFS, in close collaboration with Cainiao, operates within the air cargo station.

Since November 2021, Cainiao and WFS have been working together to enhance operational quality for joint partners like Saudia Cargo. Key service level agreement commitments include a 3-hour e-commerce transit, BUP release within 3 hours from ATA, and truck handling in less than 90 minutes.

The collaboration has also bolstered the logistics capacity of the eHub, with three temperature-controlled facilities jointly designed by the three parties. These include areas for loose 2-8°C (205 sqm), BUP 2-8°C (140 sqm), and loose 15-25°C (400 sqm), supporting the transportation of perishable and pharma cargo products. Additionally, the eHub has obtained BCP certification, enabling the transport of fresh goods and further enhancing its capacity to facilitate cross-border trade.

Eric Xu, Vice President of Cainiao Group, stated: "Cainiao is committed to transforming the logistics industry through continuous innovation to enable a seamless e-commerce experience and we are delighted to find close partners like Saudi Cargo and WFS on this path. Through continuously equipping our Liege eHub with cutting-edge technology solutions and facilities, we managed to boost the efficiency of logistics operations while improving customer experience through greater transparency and traceability. We are confident that this win-win collaboration will further reinforce Cainiao’s position as the world's leading cross-border e-commerce logistics provider by offering the valued customers of us three companies with enhanced experience."

The new initiative addresses the growing demand for high-quality logistics operations in the cross-border e-commerce sector, particularly in the Middle East and European markets. Earlier this year, Cainiao launched its international express shipping service, Global 5-Day Delivery, in collaboration with AliExpress, now available in ten countries worldwide.

The collaboration between Saudia Cargo and Cainiao includes specific freighter flights from Hong Kong to Riyadh and Liege, strategically tailored to meet the increasing logistics demands in these key regions and enhance e-commerce delivery efficiency. Furthermore, the contract extension to WFS for handling over 50,000 tonnes annually on flights connecting Liege and Riyadh underscores Saudia Cargo’s ambition for operational excellence and reliable logistics services.

WFS's investment in subleasing part of the Cainiao facility in Liege illustrates its commitment to innovation and efficiency, creating a dedicated area for swift and real-time information processing. The integration of innovative technology solutions, including AGVs, advanced PDAs, digital dashboards, and live tracking systems, supports a new generation of cargo management systems utilizing IoT technologies to drive efficient and sustainable e-commerce handling.

John Batten, Chief Executive Officer, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEAA) WFS, a Member of the SATS Group, also commented: “WFS is proud to be extending our partnership with Cainiao and Saudia Cargo. As highly respected leaders in their respective fields, they recognize that key aspects of e-commerce and cargo handling supply chains are most efficient when they are delivered by experienced and trusted partners. By combining WFS’ proven handling capabilities with the use of innovative technologies, our team in Liege look forward to delivering the clearly-defined service standards set by Cainiao and Saudia, and supporting the continued growth of our successful collaboration.”

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