May 17, 2020

Russian investors lock horns over shares in Freight One

Russian Railways
UCL Holdings
Freddie Pierce
2 min
Russian railways are selling a 25% stake in Freight One
The Russian rail freight sector may soon be experiencing yet another change in ownership, following news of two offers on the table for the remaining 2...

The Russian rail freight sector may soon be experiencing yet another change in ownership, following news of two offers on the table for the remaining 25 percent stake in Freight One, which is due to be sold off by state carrier Russian Railways.

According to reports, Sistema will be battling against UCL Holdings, which already owns the remainder of stock in the Intermodal Group, for the remaining shares in Freight One.

This would be the first major investment in the freight industry by Sistema, which currently has interests in many fields including telecoms, banking, construction and oil trading. Controlled by Russian billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov, Sistema trades on the London Stock Exchange as the largest Russian publicly listed investment group.

Despite this move by Sistema, a large portion of Freight One is currently owned by Vladimir Lisin, a Russian even wealthier than Evtushenkov. Lisin’s company, UCL Holdings, currently holds a 75 percent stake in Freight One, and expressed interest in the remaining shares, which will be sold for a minimum of 45 billion rubles ($1.45 billion), according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

Despite the imminent change in ownership, a deal was struck between Freight One, Russian Railways and Tatravagonka at the InnoTrans rail conference last week, which agrees on a joint investment in a tri-angle freight coach with an axle load of 25 tonnes, which is hoped will increase the efficiency of rolling stock and railway transport infrastructure. 

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Jun 17, 2021

Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics

3 min
Cainiao will focus on the customer experience in Singapore and Malaysia during its Tmall 618 Mid-Year Shopping Festival

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’. 



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