Dubai: Emirates SkyCargo announced on Wednesday it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the logistics arm of Alibaba Group as the Chinese firm eyes Dubai as a hub for its logistics infrastructure.

The deal with Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates, comes after Cainiao Smart Logisitics Network unveiled plans to develop six global hubs in six cities around the world, with Dubai being one of those cities.

The latest memorandum will help facilitate the delivery of parcels, and will allow both Emirates SkyCargo and Cainiao to leverage each other’s networks in airline cargo operations and e-commerce.

Under the terms of the deal, the two companies will work together to manage e-commerce shipments in the Middle East and other neighbouring regions via Dubai. Emirates SkyCargo said in a statement it will disclose further details on the terms of the deal as they are developed by the two parties.

The signing of the memorandum comes amid growth in the e-commerce market, which is in turn providing a boost to the air cargo industry globally.

Emirates SkyCargo said it has been exploring opportunities to collaborate with companies to offer additional services beyond cargo.

Nabil Sultan, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president for cargo, said the deal with Cainiao Smart Logisitics is the first step between the two companies. He did not elaborate on what might come next or how these ties might develop.

Meanwhile, Xiaodong Guan, general manager of Cainiao Global Business, said Dubai is well positioned to help Cainiao achieve its goal of 72-hour global delivery.