Puerto Rico Announces Plan for Port of the Americas
Puerto Rico has announced it is looking for a major international port operator to partner with on the development of the Port of the Americas, located in Ponce, on the southern coast of the island.
The Port of the Americas site sits on over 300 acres, located just 5 miles from Mercedita Airport, representing a tremendous opportunity for future port capacity expansion and industrial growth.
Alberto Bacó-Bagué, Secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce, said: “We are excited to work with a private-sector partner on the Port of the Americas, to help bring jobs and economic opportunity to the southern coast of Puerto Rico.
“The development of this port is just another step in our larger economic plan focused on long-term strategic growth. Infrastructure investments create valuable jobs in the immediate term and are pivotal to our sustained success in the years to come.”
In recent years, the Government of Puerto Rico has invested over $285 million in ambitious upgrades to the port, including dredging the entrance channel and berths up to 50 feet. This port is just one of the many infrastructure projects Puerto Rico has undertaken in recent years.
With a vigorous plan to improve, increase and diversify the island’s power production capabilities, as well as the expansion of island-wide broadband internet service, the Government of Puerto Rico is proactively positioning the island as a global business hub in the region.
Carlos Mejia, Port of Ponce Authority Director, said: “We envision the Port of the Americas becoming a major global shipping hub in the years to come. There are very few places in the region with a channel that is 50 feet deep. With carriers actively utilising larger vessels, a trend that we fully expect to continue with the reopening of the Panama Canal, the region will need a centralised shipping hub. Ponce certainly has the infrastructure, location and capacity to meet the demand in an increasingly global economy.”
Puerto Rico already has the busiest airport in the Caribbean in San Juan, with 5,000 cargo flights and roughly 8,800 passenger flights coming and going every month.
The Port of Americas plays an important role in developing Puerto Rico into a global business hub. With the expansion of the Panama Canal set to be completed in 2016, there is expected to be an increase in the number of large vessels coming into the region.
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’.