Cainiao upgrades logistics tech ahead of Singles Day

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In preparation for this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, commonly known as Singles Day, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network (Cainiao) has upgraded its logistics technology to meet demand for delivery services.

Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics unit, is technologically equipped to handle even more than the 812 million orders processed during last year’s Singles Day. In China, Cainiao has just opened a new robotic warehouse, expanded its IoT systems and built out its platform’s last-mile reach.

Cainiao vice president Ben Wang said the logistics company needs to keep upgrading systems, anticipating growth and seeking higher efficiency to meet customer expectations.

“It was only five years ago that parcel orders surpassed 100 million for the first time. Back then it took nine days to deliver the first 100 million parcels,” said Wang. “Last year, it took less than three days (2.8 days) to deliver the same number of parcels. Consumers increasingly want faster, better delivery, so that’s what we’re doing. This year, we’re striving to achieve a new high, leveraging the beauty of scale and technology.”

Cainiao’s new smart warehouse is located in the company’s first IoT Future Park, in the city of Wuxi in Jiangsu Province, and is the largest robotic smart warehouse in China. It features 700 automated guided vehicles, which are automatically directed using IoT technology to drive, load and unload.

Cainiao will also be using its new Sky Eye Program to monitor the entire delivery process during and after Singles Day, including for its logistics partners, such as YTO Express and STO Express. Sky Eye taps the cameras in logistics stations across the country and, using a combination of computer vision technology and Cainiao’s algorithm, upgrades them into smart IoT devices to help delivery firms identify idle resources and abnormalities in the logistics process.

Furthermore, to speed up cross border delivery, Cainiao and its partners have prepared bonded warehouses covering over 1,000,000m2 nationwide, up more than 80% from last year. They’ll be used to store goods at the closest warehouse to consumers in advance of 11.11, which will substantially cut the delivery time.

Cainiao has also arranged 51 chartered flights to take goods to Western Europe, Russia and Southeast Asia. Around 1,000 containers will take goods via sea freight to Southeast Asia and other destinations.

The year 2019 will also be the first time goods ordered during 11.11 are delivered directly from stores to customers, sometimes within minutes. Short-distance delivery services will be available in over 280 cities.

Take a look at the new robotic warehouse in action:

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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