Cainiao, the logistics arm of Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), has opened for business in Japan to provide comprehensive logistics service to importers and exporters there.
The latest step in Alibaba Group’s global logistics expansion follows last month’s launch of third-party logistics services in South Korea and an air charter service to South America. Alibaba is racing rival Amazon (NASDQ: AMZN) to extend end-to-end logistics services beyond its own delivery needs to other companies.
“Alibaba is moving as fast as possible to expand into 3PL services. Like Amazon, they understand that the big growth area for retail is in providing logistics services. Amazon has every intention of becoming a 3PL and Alibaba has to get ahead of this,” said Brittain Ladd, the chief marketing and supply chain officer at Pulse Integration and a former Amazon executive.
In Japan, Cainiao will handle first- and last-mile delivery, international ocean and air shipping, customs clearance, trucking and warehouse management. The company said its turnkey service will knock more than a week off the typical time it takes to complete freight moves by ocean, down to 11 to 13 days from the current 18 to 22 days. Its ability to aggregate ocean shipments is expected to save money for customers.
Cainiao has block space agreements on 10 weekly cargo services between Yokohama and Kobe in Japan to Ningbo and Shanghai in China and with air carriers.