SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Alibaba Group’s Cainiao launched a container booking service for air and sea freight on Thursday and said the move was in response to a global container shortage that had pushed cargo costs to record highs.
The logistics company supporting delivery for Alibaba’s e-commerce markets said its service will cover more than 200 ports in 50 countries and offer cross-border port-to-port shipping rates 30-40% lower than the average rate market.
A severe shortage of containers is holding back global export flows, driven by China’s unbalanced trade balance – which exports three containers for each recently imported – and delays in containers returning to China due to the pandemic.
The cost of renting a 40-foot container from China on the east coast of the United States increased more than 80% in December from June, according to Freightos data in Refinitiv Eikon.
“By working closely with airlines and cargo companies, we aim to safeguard the entire cross-border liner transport network and instill greater stability in sea and air transport,” James Zhao, general manager of the chain, said in a statement. global supply of Cainiao.
Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Himani Sarkar