Alibaba’s Cainiao to lead $1.53bn investment in Hong Kong logistics hub
Cainiao, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s logistics business, has announced it will lead a joint venture investment of $1.54bn into a new logistics centre in Hong Kong, Reuters has reported.
Located at Hong Kong Airport, the centre will form part of a commitment by Alibaba to expand its global delivery network.
Having taken over Cainiao in 2017, Alibaba stated it would pour $15bn into its global logistics network over the next five years.
The project is owned by a joint venture with Cainiao Smart Logistics Network owning 51%, state-owned China National Aviation Corp owning 35% and courier YTO Express owning 14%.
The centre is set to open in 2023 and will take up approximately 380,000 sq m in floor space with the capacity to handle 1.7mn tonnes of cargo each year.
According to Alizila, the facility will implement automated warehousing technology and automated temperature control, and Cainiao has pledged that it will aid the growth of SME’s involved in e-commerce.
Wan Lin, President of Cainiao, stated: “The Hong Kong hub will be yet another milestone on our way to achieving our goal of 72-hour global delivery.”
Cainiao also announced last week it will open additional logistics hubs in Dubai, Hangzhou, Kuala Lumpur, Belgium and Moscow.
This follows a $1.4bn investment last month by the Cainiao in Chinese express delivery company, ZTO Express, which the company stated was helping Alibaba and Cainiao develop a new digital economy.
Suez Canal expansion plans greenlit by Egyptian president
The Suez Canal is to undergo a two-year expansion project, following the weeklong closure of the channel by the stranded Ever Given container ship in March.
Plans set forth to expand narrow sections of the Suez Canal have been greenlit by the Egyptian president to safeguard against future blockages.
Dredgers will widen and deepen the single-lane stretch close to the southern mouth of the canal, near where the 400m container ship got wedged earlier this year, while a second lane opened in 2015 will be extended to promote two-way traffic and alleviate the impact of bottlenecks.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave the order to “immediately start implementing the proposed development plan and put in place a timetable for completion as soon as possible”, according to reports. It is understood he expects the work to be fully completed within two years.
Ever Given negotiations rage on
The Ever Given left hundreds of ships stranded and disrupted an estimated $9.5bn in goods each day when it became wedged across a narrow passage of the trade route in March. After a week of dredging, towing and manoeuvring, it was eventually freed from the banks of the Suez Canal in the early hours of 29 March and set course of the Bitter Lakes holding area.
There the vessel, its crew and its cargo have remained ever since, while legal action between Egyptian authorities and the ship’s owners rages on, though SCA chairman and Managing Director, Admiral Osama Rabie, refutes allegations that crew have been detained.
“[There] is no truth in the allegations of detaining the ship crew, pointing to that the SCA does not mind the departure or recrew operations provided the presence of the sufficient number of sailors to secure the vessel and in the light of the presence of the ship captain as he stands as the juridical guardian of the ship and the cargo aboard,” Rabie said in a statement.
The SCA initially sought $916m in compensation to cover refloatation costs, including repairs where the channel was damaged to move the vessel, bonuses for the rescue crews who worked throughout the jam, and a package for “loss of reputation”.
Now the SCA and its chairman and Managing Director, Admiral Osama Rabie, have agreed to reduce the bill by a third. The authority has reportedly offered payment terms for the $600m to the Ever Given’s owner Shoei Kisen. Shoei Kisen has also declared a general average on the goods on board, with shippers liable to shoulder a significant outlay to get the 18,000-plus containers aboard to their final destination in the Nertherlands.