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Alibaba tests parcel delivery with rocket for fastest delivery ever

Alibaba tests parcel delivery with rocket for fastest delivery ever
Alibaba tests parcel delivery with rocket for fastest delivery ever

Within an hour, that’s how fast parcel deliveries could be moved across borders if Alibaba’s plans for rocket delivery work out.

According to the South China Morning Post, the designated XZY-1 rocket can use cargo space of 120 square meters. It can carry a load of up to 10 tons. This could have a significant impact on supply chain management. It could even include a small truck. 

Chinese rocket maker Space Epoch partnered with Taobao, a marketplace platform that Alibaba owns. 

While the project is still in its infancy, Space Epoch announced some plan details. The XZY-1 rocket completed its ignition and offshore recovery tests last year, Reuters is reporting. There are no clear timelines for when the first rocket delivery will be tested. 

Logistics industry shakeup

If cargo can board a rocket and reach another country for delivery an hour later, this could mean a shakeup for the industry. 

  • Enhanced delivery speed: Rocket delivery could allow logistics experts to offer faster delivery services. But with this comes significant competition. It could attract customers who prioritize speed and efficiency. 

  • Global reach: Rocket deliveries can eliminate future supply chain crises caused by political turbulence, war, or the Red Sea, which can’t be accessed now. It can also help tap into a new market, which has been inaccessible due to extended shipping times. 

  • Streamlining supply chains: With rocket delivery in the logistics process, lead times can be reduced, inventory holding costs can be minimized, and overall efficiency can be optimized. This can ultimately lead to cost savings and improved price competitiveness. 

Competitors in space deliveries 

According to DHL, by 2040, the space economy could be the next trillion-dollar market. “The logistics industry will see a once-small niche develop into a sizeable sector as it becomes more common for space-bound products to pass through supply chains.”

The German-based logistics company says space logistics alone can generate more than 20% of the total revenue from the space economy in the next 16 years. 

The big question is infrastructure and legislation. With infrastructure in most countries a huge battleground, there are concerns about whether the rocket delivery experiment is viable. The landing pace is among the problems, but the rocket maker has assured us it could land at sea. 

Alibaba focusing on faster deliveries

With Temu and Shein focusing on speed, convenience, and dominance in the e-commerce sector, Alibaba is also trying to improve its times. 

Last year, Alibaba’s Cainiao Group launched a new delivery campaign, vowing only to take five working days to deliver across the border. It’s reported to be 30% faster than industry standards. This seems to be in response to its rivalry with Temu and Shein. 

How is this possible? “To deepen its logistics capabilities outside of China, Cainiao will focus on Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia. [There will be] a target of establishing one to two local warehousing and distribution centers a year.”

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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