IATA establishes new office for Gulf Region
IATA has announced the establishment of a new Gulf Area office in Abu Dhabi, following an agreement with the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“We are very pleased to be moving to our new home in Abu Dhabi. Today’s agreement reflects the recognition by the government of the UAE of the importance that aviation plays in driving economic growth and development,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Effective from the 1st June, Tyler signed the agreement with Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah Mohammad Bin Butti Al Hamed in the presence of the Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. This formally establishes IATA’s presence in the Gulf Cooperation Council with an office covering activities in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, in addition to the UAE. It supersedes an agreement with the Sharjah Airport Authority, under which IATA’s first office in the UAE was established in 1996.
“I thank our hosts in Sharjah for their support over the last 17 years. Over that period our activities have grown rapidly in parallel with the development of the airlines in the Gulf area. Having formalized our position at the national level, I am confident that we will be able to provide the region with even more effective support for its impressive development,” said Tyler.
The Abu Dhabi office will report to the Association’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Office in Amman, Jordan. Together they will make available the full range of IATA’s services and member benefits to airlines operating in the region. This includes managing the local operations of the IATA Industry Settlement Systems, the IATA Operational Safety Audit and delivering leadership as the industry establishes and implements global standards to support the flagship Simplifying the Business program, among other activities.
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’.