KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia Airports' Aeropolis and Alibaba Group commence on Tuesday the operations of the new e-fulfilment hub, Cainiao Aeropolis eWTP Hub, Malaysia as part of their joint efforts in boosting economic recovery of Malaysia and regional trade flow.
The hub is a joint venture between Malaysia Airports and Alibaba Group, and a major project under the electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) partnership entered between the Malaysian government and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group in 2017.
Operated by Alibaba's logistics unit, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network (Cainiao), the hub aims to help elevate the Kuala Lumpur International Airport's (KUL) air cargo network status as one of the leading distribution gateways within the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region.
Malaysia Airports and Cainiao said in a statement that the commencement of operations is expected to help facilitate 24-hour delivery within Malaysia for e-commerce operators, with the ultimate goal of enabling 72-hour delivery to the rest of the world.
According to the statement, the hub will reinforce the country's cargo and logistics ecosystem spanning air, sea and land connectivity.
On top of this, industry participants can look forward to the application of smart supply chain technology and knowledge transfer capability in logistics.
Southeast Asia's largest e-commerce firm Lazada is the first to leverage this hub while more companies are expected to move in soon to establish their regional distribution centers.
Malaysia Airports chief executive officer Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said the airport operator is constantly looking at initiatives that can leverage Kuala Lumpur International Airport's vast 10 km by 10 km land bank.
"We are confident that the new facility will be able to increase cargo volume by 700,000 metric tons, thus doubling KUL's current volume to 1.4 million per year by 2029. We are targeting vertical markets from the automotive, sporting goods, fast moving fashion and lifestyle, retail electronics and medical equipment sectors, among others," he said.
With the growth in cargo volume, the group is looking at improved airline connectivity via KUL with new routes and increase in flight frequency, belly space utilization and freighter capacity, he said,
Constant improvements through automation, robotics and artificial intelligence and big data will continue to be made to the supply chain and value-added services, he said.
"There is potential to hit at least 10.1 billion U.S. dollars gross domestic product growth and create more than 100,000 jobs by the 10th year of the hub's operations," he added.
Meanwhile, Cainiao Smart Hub general manager Eric Xu said as one of Cainiao's key regional hubs, the Cainiao Aeropolis eWTP Hub, Malaysia will play a strategic infrastructural role in facilitating cross-border trade for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and improving overall consumer experience for imports and exports.
"With the rise of a global digital economy, we believe that smart logistics will continue to play a pivotal role in helping SMEs to access a wider global market and improving their market competitiveness," he said.
The core businesses of the hub include cargo terminal operation (CTO), warehousing and sorting centers within the Free Commercial Zone (FCZ).
The facility promises seamless cargo entry and exit movement as it will have an internal customs inspection point set up within its grounds to increase security and efficiency while reducing cargo handling time.
Due to its strategic location within the FCZ, the facility will also benefit from the FCZ provision for value-added services including light manufacturing, assembly, sorting, picking, re-labelling and packing, according to Malaysia Airports and Cainiao.