Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, announced on Thursday the launch of its First Air Cargo route between China and Africa, aiming to enhance cross-border parcel shipping efficiency.

A press release from Cainiao on Thursday said the air freight, operating over six times weekly, will ship parcels from China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub, where Cainiao’s local partners will take over and complete the last mile delivery.

Cainiao said the air cargo route is expected to reduce the days of normal door-to-door delivery service between China and Nigeria from more than 60 days to about 20 days.

“As one of Cainiao’s key emerging markets, Africa has witnessed a booming demand from local consumers purchasing items such as apparel, home appliances and electronic accessories from China,” Cainiao said.

The launch of the air cargo route will support the surge in trade volume and rise of e-commerce in Africa, with the African e-commerce market projected to reach about 34.6 billion U.S. dollars by 2024, an average annual growth rate of 17.1 percent, according to Cainao.

“The newly launched air cargo route is a further expansion of Cainiao’s global cross-border parcel network and demonstrates our ability to leverage industry partnerships to aggregate resources to mitigate disruptions while enhancing overall logistics efficiency,” said William Xiong, Cainiao’s chief strategist and general manager of export logistics.

Xiong told by telephone on Thursday that Cainiao and its local logistics partners aim to extend full-chain delivery services to more African countries in the near future.