Cainiao has started a six-times-a-week air cargo service between Hong Kong and Lagos, cutting transit times from more than 60 days to 20 days. Previous deliveries to Nigeria transited via the Middle East.
Cainiao said bilateral trade between China and Africa was flourishing. Nigeria was Africa's largest buyer of Chinese goods in 2019, while Cainiao saw a 163 per cent year-on-year rise in cross-border e-commerce parcel volumes last month.
'The launch of the air cargo route will support the surge in trade volume and rise of e-commerce in Africa, with the African e-commerce market projected to reach US$34.6 billion by 2024, an average annual growth rate of 17.1 per cent,' noted the company.
Chinese data shows bilateral trade with Africa grew 27 per cent in the first quarter this year.
William Xiong, Cainiao's chief strategist and general manager of export logistics, said: 'Together with local logistics partners, we strive to provide African consumers with efficient door-to-door delivery services, with the aim to extend full-chain delivery services to more African countries in the near future.'
And Cainiao is not the only company looking to better serve the burgeoning African market. Aero Africa, a Hong Kong-based neutral air cargo solutions group, has launched a digital airfreight rate platform for African logistics providers.
The platform, powered by the UAE's Hashmove, will provide forwarders with instant wholesale rates, consolidation schedules and digital bookings from major hubs to 84 airports in Africa.
'Combining our experience and expertise in air freight with Hashmove's technological capabilities will open up new and innovative ways for African logistics providers to conduct airfreight business,' said Jade Da Costa, CCO of Aero Africa.