Bertschi will use UAE rail network
Swiss logistics company Bertschi has announced it has signed an agreement to use the new rail network being constructed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the network, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the chemicals transport and logistics specialist, which plans to use the network to transport equipment and products such as hazardous bulk liquid dry chemicals cross-border.
This will involve trips between the UAE and other Gulf countries, with a focus on Suadi Arabia.
Etihad’s new rail network is a big project to connect key centres of industry and population within the UAE, and to other Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.
Etihad Rail Chief Executive officer Dr Nasser Al Mansoori said: “The UAE economy is rapidly developing, and modern rail infrastructure is a key component of this development.
“The MoU with Bertschi is in line with our commitment to provide tailor-made solutions to our customers and embodies the UAE leadership’s vision to drive the country’s economic growth and development.
“The agreement showcases the positive impact Etihad Rail will have on global industry players, offering them growth opportunities not only in the UAE but in the region as a whole.”
Bertschi, a family owned business, has 54 subsidiaries across Europe, the Middle East, China, Russia, Turkey, South-east Asia, and the US.
It services the chemicals industry and has an annual turnover of €510M.
Michael Baechler, Bertschi Global AG Manager Business Unit Global,said: “Bertschi has made its mark worldwide in intermodal rail and short sea transport, and our experience has instilled a loyal appreciation for the value of rail transport and the benefits it offers in terms of safety, costs and efficiency.
“Through our MoU with Etihad Rail, we will be able to grow in alignment with the industries we service in the region, which are also growing, and we will ensure that we are able to provide the most seamless transport experience of our customers’ goods.”
Etihad Rail has signed MoUs with partners including HOYER Global Transport BV to Support Intra-GCC Logistics, Dubai-based Sharaf Logistics, Global Shipping and Logistics, Sharjah Cement Factor, and with global logistics and transportation solutions provider Aramex.
The Etihad Rail network will serve both freight and passengers and, when finished, will total 1,200km across the Emirates. It will be the first national freight and passenger railway network to connect the UAEs seven emirates.
The project will cost $11 billion and is due to be complete in the second quarter of 2018.
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.