LATAM Airlines Group and Atlas Air (5Y, New York JFK) have entered into a partnership agreement with China’s Cainiao Smart Logistics Network to speed up cargo connections between Asia and South America.

The interline agreement sees parcels delivered by Atlas Air from China to Santiago de Chile Int'l (Chile) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (Brazil) transferred immediately to LATAM flights heading to Bogotá (Colombia) and Lima Int'l (Peru), packed in the same container. Shipping time from Hong Kong Int'l to Colombia and Peru will be reduced by 50%.

“LATAM's participation is a recognition of the robust network, which has positioned LATAM Airlines Group and its Cargo carriers as the best alternative to, from, and between South America, and of the flexibility offered to adapt to the needs of our customers. The collaborative and efficient work between LATAM and Cainiao, in addition to the interline agreement reached with Atlas Air, will allow the implementation of a logistics chain that will satisfy the high demand of e-commerce and reduce delivery times from Hong Kong to Bogotá and Lima by 50%, a result that is of direct benefit to the end customer,” commented Jorge Galvez, Director of Marketing and Development of LATAM Cargo.

This follows Atlas Air’s agreement in November 2020, with Cainiao - the logistics arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba – to provide three weekly charter flights dedicated to Cainiao, linking Hong Kong with Brazil and Chile.

“The pandemic has resulted in a shortage of cargo flights from China to South America, and our collaboration with Atlas Air and LATAM can help meet the robust demand and raise logistics efficiency,” said William Xiong, Cainiao’s chief strategist and general manager of export logistics. In March 2021, the company's parcel volumes to South America increased by 14% over February as global trade resumed, “driving up the demand for airfreight, which is almost returning to pre-pandemic levels,” Xiong said in a statement.

Cainiao is expanding and improving its supply chain efficiency and launching direct routes to major regions worldwide. In March, it also partnered with Saudia (SV, Jeddah) to operate five weekly flights from Hong Kong to Liège, Belgium, with Riyadh as a connection point. It also recently expanded its network in Southeast Asia through a deal with Hong Kong Air Cargo (RH, Hong Kong Int'l). The company expects to operate about 1,300 chartered flights by the end of 2020.