Cainiao Smart Logistics Network is piloting a new value-added service in Hong Kong aimed at keeping logistics operations flowing during the upcoming Lunar New Year.
The annual festivities, which begin on the evening of 12 February, typically span two to three weeks and see an almost total shutdown of businesses.
The logistics arm of the Alibaba Group is investing HKD 5.0 million (USD 645,000) in the pilot service with plans to expand it to other regions in the near future.
Cainiao says the launch of this value-added service means that businesses in Mainland China and Hong Kong will be able to continue their sales and deliveries even during the traditional Lunar New Year shutdown. And it means that Hong Kong consumers will be able to enjoy their shopping without worrying about shipping delays, Cainiao adds.
This service would encompass a 1,500-strong workforce across the full chain of logistics operations, spanning Cainiao’s warehouses, 170 island-wide collection points, partner and courier network, as well as customer service.
Cainiao says consumers in Hong Kong will be unaffected by the logistics service closures and be able to receive their parcels within three working days. Consumers will also receive additional protection with compensation for late deliveries that take more than three working days.
“With the pandemic, logistics has increasingly served as an essential service that connects people to goods, services and most importantly, their loved ones. During festivities such as this Lunar New Year, we hope that by keeping the logistics service running, we are creating opportunities for businesses to increase sales revenue and for consumers to connect with their loved ones by sending gifts across the border or to enjoy local produce without having to commute home.
“As Taobao and Tmall’s official logistics provider, we are always seeking new and better ways to deliver more value-added logistics services to benefit businesses and consumers,” says Ray Cheuk, head of operations (Hong Kong), Cainiao Global Supply Chain.
Traditionally, logistics services will be shut down for as long as three weeks, with services such as acceptance of orders and parcel deliveries closing as early as two weeks prior to the Lunar New Year, and only resuming on the seventh day of the lunar calendar.
This means that businesses have to manage inventory, production timeline and shipping deadlines in order to ensure that they deliver to their customers successfully during the seasonal rush. The Lunar New Year shutdowns are usually followed by mass demand from businesses that need to make up for the two to three weeks’ worth of delayed shipment.
This announcement comes after the recent launch of its reverse logistics channel between Hong Kong and Mainland China, as well as delivery guarantees to provide assurance and offer protection against late deliveries, damaged and lost goods.