Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba.com has announced the launch of Alibaba.com Freight, which will help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to simplify the movement of their bulk freight. The freight matching service will work via a transparent dashboard that lets users instantly compare, book, manage and track ocean and air freight in real-time.
The freight matching platform is powered by logistics freight routing company Freightos. Apart from the freight service, Alibaba.com has also announced two more products and services, including Payment Terms that helps users have better cash flow control and Online Trade Shows USA that looks to connect U.S. manufacturers and wholesalers with business buyers via virtual events.
John Caplan, the president of North America & Europe at Alibaba.com, explained that shipments within the Alibaba.com platform generally involved bulk freight transport – in containers and pallets, rather than paper sleeves of individual items.
“Information and transparency is the key to making sure you have the supply you need when you need it, where you need it. And by modernizing what had been an analog industry – opaque and historically slow for cross border logistics – we are putting the simplest tools in the hands of American small businesses,” said Caplan.
Within the freight marketplace, shippers can decide how they want their shipment to be hauled, including mode of transport, costs, and the brand and size of the carriers.
The Payment Terms solution comes as businesses are struggling to control their cash flow during the pandemic. This solution is directly embedded into a cross-border B2B ecommerce marketplace, allowing qualified buyers to order and pay for goods within 60 days of shipment.
Alibaba observed that small businesses are often handicapped financially, as they find it challenging to leverage financial programs available for large competitors in the space. Payment Terms addresses this issue and provides qualified SMBs with funding for their inventories, helping alleviate cash flow pressure.
“While SMBs often have difficulty getting trade financing from banks, Alibaba.com’s Payment Terms provides the working capital they need to fuel their growth,” said Caplan. “This is possible for Alibaba.com because we know the buyers and sellers on our platform, and financing is offered for transactions that we know are real. This is a truly game-changing innovation that opens new opportunities for America’s small businesses. I can’t wait to see our customers benefit from it.”
Online trade shows, also announced today, is a series of category-specific, live streaming events, which bring in industry leaders for keynote addresses and businesses to promote products to a select audience of verified buyers.
“With the disruption of COVID-19, the next era in global trade starts today, from home and online,” said Caplan. “The grit, resilience and needs of American small businesses that face extraordinary challenges right now have inspired and motivated us to reimagine the trade show experience for our customers. Alibaba.com Online Trade Shows USA will showcase the innovative products and capabilities of U.S. small businesses and connect them to our rapidly expanding community of more than 10 million global buyers.”