Alibaba’s logistics unit ramps up parcel processing across Asia

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, has fully implemented its Apollo system across 11 Asian countries to enhance the parcel processing capacity by 10 times during peak periods when throughput reaches hundreds of millions of parcels.

This proprietary logistics technology is now adopted by e-commerce and logistics partners in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka — with the estimated coverage adding up at one billion users.

Customers in these countries will be able to receive parcels from China as soon as the same day when an order is placed.

The full implementation leads to 50% increase in delivery accuracy as well as 10% reduction in the average cost through its smart order splitting, route optimisation and pricing technologies.

Developed and implemented by Cainiao, the Apollo system was launched to establish a highly-efficient logistics network and operations standardisation across different Alibaba Group’s businesses and its partners. 

For a stretch of six months, the Apollo team comprising 600 developers and engineers embarked on the digitalisation initiative which leveraged big data and intelligent algorithms to optimise various objectives based on parcel location, destination, cost considerations and partner logistics efficiency. This algorithm can be constantly re-iterated and optimised based on changing business needs and environment.

“Southeast Asia is a dynamic market which is home to a large number of e-commerce and logistics firms, but its overall logistics user experience needs improvements in order to remain competitive and efficient,” said Weicai Chen, project manager of Apollo.

“With Apollo, we will be able to drive the integration of logistics capabilities with e-commerce strategy to cope with the e-commerce boom in the region,” added Chen.