Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, has added direct cargo capacity from its Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) hub to Heathrow as part of efforts to speed up the delivery of goods.
The flight will operate three times per week offering a capacity of 30 tonnes per trip onboard a Malaysia Airlines A350-900 aircraft.
Cainiao said the launch of the direct flights for export goods from Malaysia to the UK will reduce airfreight transportation time by approximately 30%, from 19.5 hours to 13.5 hours, and reduce logistics costs by 10%.
The flights from its Kuala Lumpur Cainiao Aeropolis eWTP e-fulfillment hub to the UK will service both B2B and B2C businesses on eBay.
Meanwhile, the airline will also add a five-times-per-week flight from KLIA to Hangzhou with a capacity of 23 tonnes per trip. This flight is operated by YTO Cargo Airlines.
“The direct flights from Malaysia to Mainland China will increase airfreight stability and decrease overall logistics cost by 6 to 10% and help B2B export merchants outside the Alibaba ecosystem to gain access to the Chinese market, Cainiao said.
“Export merchants outside of Malaysia can also ship their goods to the hub for transit before exporting them overseas, reducing clearance time by up to 97%, from 24-48 hours to 1.5 hours, using digital customs clearance systems.”
There are subsequent plans to expand the network of direct flights from Malaysia to markets such as Singapore, Brunei, Australia (Sydney), New Zealand (Auckland), and other key ASEAN and European markets.
Au Yeong Shong Kwong, general manager for the Cainiao eHub Malaysia, said: “The expansion of the hub’s direct airfreight network will play a pivotal role in supporting the increase in trade flow from Malaysia to key global markets.
“By tapping on our global logistics network to reinforce airfreight stability, we aim to provide a more stable, efficient, and cost-effective cross-border logistics solution to help SMEs to reach a wider overseas market and increase their resilience.
“KLIA’s position as one of the leading distribution gateways in ASEAN, coupled with the hub’s smart logistics capabilities, will be instrumental in facilitating cross-border trade and serve as a regional center for SMEs to scale globally.”
The hub was opened in November, measures 1.1m sq ft, and contains facilities for cargo terminal operation (CTO), warehousing, sorting, and a dedicated digital customs clearance.
It serves as a regional e-fulfillment hub to support Malaysia as a growing regional e-commerce logistics hub, with the aim of completing global deliveries within a 72-hour period.
The last couple of years has seen Cainiao rapidly ramp up its air cargo network. Most recently, it announced a partnership with Qatar Airways Cargo covering Asia-South America.
This followed a partnership with Atlas Air on the trade to South America.
Last year, the company also announced a series of charter flights out of Malaysia.