Saudia Cargo, Cainiao and Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), a member of the SATS Group) have announced increased collaboration to optimize logistics operations in the rapidly growing global e-commerce industry.


The partners noted that this collaboration strengthens their existing relationship, focusing on optimizing logistics processes by streamlining operations and adopting logistics innovations.


"A key component of this collaboration is the establishment of a dedicated area in the air cargo station of Cainiao Liege eHub in Belgium, the company's European regional hub," the announcement said.


It added that WFS/SATS, in close collaboration with Cainiao, operates in the air cargo station.


"This initiative responds directly to the escalating demand for high-quality logistics operations in the cross-border e-commerce sector, particularly in the Middle East and European markets," the joint statement further said.


Earlier this year, Cainiao unveiled its international express shipping service, Global 5-Day Delivery, in collaboration with AliExpress, now available in the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and South Korea.


Saudia Cargo and Cainiao boast a robust collaboration with a history that spans several years.


The latest agreement reinforces this longstanding relationship by giving precedence to specific Saudia Cargo freighter flights originating from Hong Kong and bound for Riyadh and Liege.


The announcement noted that this strategic move is "meticulously crafted" to address the burgeoning logistics demands in these key regions, further amplifying the efficiency of e-commerce deliveries.


Additionally, the contract extension to WFS/SATS for handling over 50,000 tonnes annually on flights connecting Liege and Riyadh underscores Saudia Cargo's commitment to operational excellence and reliable logistics services.


The announcement said WFS/SATS's investment in subleasing part of the Cainiao facility in Liege emphasizes its focus on innovation and efficiency, creating a dedicated area for speedy and real-time information processing.


WFS/SATS' use of innovative technology solutions — including AGVs, advanced PDAs, digital dashboards and live tracking systems — also supports a new generation of cargo management systems using IoT technologies to drive efficient and sustainable e-commerce handling.


Expanding e-commerce network in Asia, Europe


"Our collaboration with Cainiao and WFS/SATS represents a natural evolution of our strong collaborations. By building on our existing commitments, we are poised to redefine the industry landscape, offering innovative and customer-centric solutions," said Teddy Zebitz, chief executive officer of Saudia Cargo.


"Our collaboration ensures a seamless flow of e-commerce materials from Hong Kong to Liege. With high-frequency flights on our Hong Kong to Liege Via Riyadh route, we have a significant capacity exclusively dedicated to Cainiao."


Zebitz noted that by utilizing a meticulous process involving pre-built ULDs, Saudia is facilitating an "uninterrupted supply chain, supporting Cainiao in achieving their key performance indicators."


He added that this collaboration also "significantly strengthens" Saudia Cargo's e-commerce operations.


"We anticipate expanding our e-commerce network in Asia and Europe to meet evolving industry demands and customer logistics needs," the Saudia Cargo chief executive further said.


Eric Xu, vice president of Cainiao Group, for his part, said Cainiao is committed to transforming the logistics industry through continuous innovation to enable a seamless e-commerce experience.


"... We are delighted to find close partners like Saudi Cargo and WFS/SATS on this path. Through continuously equipping our Liege eHub with cutting-edge technology solutions, we managed to boost the efficiency of logistics operations while improving customer experience through greater transparency and traceability," he added, noting that the collaboration will also further reinforce Cainiao's position as the world's leading cross-border e-commerce logistics provider.


John Batten, chief executive officer, of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEAA) WFS, a member of the SATS Group, noted the significant importance of e-commerce to its business. 


"E-commerce is extremely important to WFS/SATS, our customers, our industry, and, of course, consumers, but up to now, it has been processed within a traditional air cargo handling environment. With the growth projections for e-commerce, the industry response must be more dynamic and tailored, and this is what WFS/SATS aims to deliver in Liege working alongside Saudia Cargo and Cainiao," he said.


Batten noted that this three-party collaboration leverages operational excellence skills and requirements from the airline, cargo handler, and e-commerce logistics perspectives and "will exemplify our commitment to innovation, speed, and real-time information for the future of the e-commerce logistics ecosystem."


The strategic collaboration between Saudia Cargo, Cainiao, and WFS/SATS — which will be inaugurated on March 1, 2024 — aims to make a "transformative leap" in global logistics and to set a new benchmark which propels cross-border logistics into a new era, driven by efficiency and innovation, the announcement said.