Alibaba is making moves to further tap into Western markets in a new partnership with the Russian airline conglomerate Volga-Dnepr Group. Today, the e-commerce giant’s logistics unit, Cainiao, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Volga-Dnepr Group to utilize its trans-Eurasian-focused subsidiary carriers’ networks, and to each “leverage their respective logistics assets in Asia, Europe and Russia,” the group said.
This follows news from Alibaba earlier this month, in which it signed an MOU with the government of Belgium to expand its Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) trade hub to Belgium in a move to promote cross-border e-commerce between China and Europe.
Alibaba has noted its attention to the demand for e-commerce in Russia, calling it “an important market” for its expansion strategy. One of its e-commerce website subsidiaries, AliExpress, has become the most visited e-commerce website in Russia, since it was launched in 2010.
“The future of airfreight is in the e-commerce sector, with customers becoming more tech-savvy, internet-driven and demanding in terms of delivery services,” said Tatyana Arslanova, vice president of strategic management of Volga-Dnepr Group.
Like Alibaba, Volga-Dnepr continues to bolster its presence at Liège Airport (LGG), the increasingly popular alternative to the nearby congested Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS). In October, its subsidiary carrier AirBridgeCargo, named Liège as its new European hub, three months after it signed a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase twenty-nine 777Fs at the Farnborough International Airshow in London.
Cainiao’s global general manager, James Zhao, said the partnership will “beef up airfreight capability of our global smart logistics network” and enable merchants, “especially small and medium enterprises, to access more efficient cross-border logistics services.”