The logistics arm of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, have announced the launch of its container booking service for air and sea freight spanning over 200 ports in 50 countries. The service encompasses the booking of containers and the end-to-end logistics management in the line haul process.
Globally, approximately 60 per cent of goods are shipped by container via 180 million containers worldwide. Most recently, the surge in demand for shipping containers in China, coupled with delays in containers returning to China due to the pandemic, has resulted in a severe container shortage and soaring freight rates which impacted export and import businesses. Merchants dealing with exports outside of China are also impacted as container ships rush back to China without waiting for cargo space to be fully utilized, in order to cater to the huge demand from Chinese exporters.
Data from China Container Industry Association (CCIA) also revealed that the average container turnaround times have increased to 100 days from 60 days previously because of capacity cuts in Europe and the United States. These ports struggle with lack of workforce and infrastructure to handle the surging inbound goods which in turn delay the return of empty containers. This has further exacerbated the shortage.
While the global container shortage has increased shipping costs, Cainiao says they are able to offer a cross-border port-to-port shipping fee which is 30-40 per cent lower than the average market rate. In China, the ports include those located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Yiwu etc.
James Zhao, General Manager of Cainiao Global Supply Chain, said: “In the face of the current global container shortage and surging shipping prices, Cainiao is committed to leveraging our technology and logistics ecosystem to provide a one-stop port-to-port shipping solution for exporters and importers. By working closely with airlines and cargo companies, we aim to safeguard the entire cross-border line haul network and instill greater stability into sea and air freight shipping.”
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