February 10, 2020: Alibaba Group’s logistics arm— Cainiao, launched the Green Channel initiative responding to surging demand for protective clothing and medical supplies, especially for the frontline medical staff in Hubei.
Governments, companies, social entities and NGOs can dial the 24-hour hotline – +86 400-900-5656 from China, and +86 5718-8158-333 outside China – to arrange free delivery of packages over 100 kilograms containing medical supplies, such as surgical masks, disinfectant, protective suits and safety goggles.
To expedite the delivery of medical supplies directly to critical coronavirus hit areas, Alibaba Group launched a global business-to-business sourcing platform, Alibaba Global Direct Sourcing Platform.
The platform will serve as a network, informing sellers of medical supplies and their products with the needs of affected hospitals and local authorities. Items sourced through the platform will be scheduled based on their level of urgency and priority, entering the Green Channel with industry partners to expedite shipping, handling, customs clearance and delivery.
“Every partner is dedicated to putting all resources available into this important initiative,” said He Yulin, project manager of the Cainiao Green Channel. “When we pool everyone’s advantages, the results are maximized.”
Along with the platform launch, Alibaba published an open letter to suppliers around the world, noting, “The battle against the virus is at a crucial stage. Our goal is to connect the global supply chain with those in need of supplies in a more expedited and efficient way. With your trust and effort, together, we will overcome this crisis.”
Dozens of industry peers have signed on to support the Green Channel initiative, including carriers and logistics companies, such as ZTO, STO, Best Logistics, Yunda Express, AirCity, DB Schenker, 4PX and Danniao.
While it generally takes up to a week to deliver a cargo from New York to Wuhan, Cainiao is working with customs authorities to speed clearance at airports and ports, cutting the overall shipment time to less than three days. It also developed an online system for donors to submit all the necessary documents, which greatly expedited the customs clearance process.
Cainiao used this system in Seoul, for example, to speed up the time required to move 50 tons of face masks onto three Shanghai-bound planes, accelerating the loading time to five hours, down from the average of eight hours. It also uses big-data capabilities to monitor each link along the logistics chain to help carriers avoid accidents and delays.
To facilitate the Green Channel’s fast-delivery processes, Cainiao has opened a 6,000-square-meter warehouse in Wuhan dedicated to storing and dispatching medical supplies.
So far, Alibaba has delivered medical supplies, including self-purchased and donated goods, from 15 countries and regions to 18 hospitals in Hubei, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces. And in the nine days since the channel’s launch, Cainiao said it received over 7,000 calls and shipped well over 5 million pieces of medical supplies to Wuhan and neighboring cities in Hubei province.