The last mile network for e-commerce logistics in Singapore and the region is driven by smart technology.

The logistics arm of China’s Alibaba GroupCainiao Smart Logistics Network—has announced the expansion of its last mile network in Singapore to shorten delivery time for cross-border e-commerce parcels and to improve overall customer experience.

Through partnerships with logistics partners including Singapore Post, BEST Inc, Roadbull and Park N Parcel, the last mile network will comprise over 1,600 collection points, 600 couriers and 500 lockers island-wide. Singaporean consumers will thereby benefit from a wider range of last mile service offerings, from home delivery to self-pick up at collection points and lockers.

Together with Cainiao’s increased investment to build a global smart logistics network and the recent launch of four weekly chartered flights between Singapore and China, the last mile network expansion in Singapore will create a more seamless cross-border e-commerce logistics flow that promises greater visibility and operational efficiencies, as part of its commitment to deliver globally within 72 hours.

Smart logistics and partnerships

Digitalizing last mile logistics involves leveraging Cainiao’s technological capabilities. Each parcel will be tagged with an electronic shipping label to facilitate the ease of real-time tracking from the point of overseas dispatch to final local delivery. Through evaluation of a range of metrics (such as cost and service level) as well as courier locations and handling capacity, the firm’s Global Smart Delivery Platform will be used to accurately and intelligently assign delivery tasks to the most suitable logistics partner for greater efficiency.

This initiative with Singapore partners is aimed at supporting the island-city’s rapidly growing US$2.4 bn e-commerce trade with China that handles 200,000 parcels daily. The sector is projected to grow at 12% to 20% annually over the next five years, thus signaling an immediate need to modernize the corresponding e-commerce logistics network.

Said James Zhao, General Manager, Global Supply Chain, Cainiao Network: “The expansion of the last mile network is an organic extension to deliver an end-to-end logistics service that provides greater stability and quality assurance to our customers in Singapore. We believe that last mile delivery has the potential to positively impact customer experience, so we will continue to pursue diversification of service offerings that meet the unique lifestyles and needs of our customers.” Zhao said this is also part of ongoing efforts to support the Southeast-Asian market by establishing win-win partnerships with local logistics partners. “By driving the digital transformation of the entire industry, we are confident that logistics will continue to play an instrumental role in bolstering e-commerce growth in the region and serve as a key building block for the digital economy.”