Headed by remarkable growth in China, the economies of the region remain prosperous. As Western countries continue to post minimal economic gains, the shift in global trade towards Asia is being helped by regional supply and demand dynamics. Eight of the 10 major ports in the world are located in East Asia, the largest of which is Shanghai, followed closely by Singapore and Hong Kong.
Global logistics providers play a crucial role in helping with the flow of goods between cities and countries in Asia. As China's growth continues to generate a wide variety of logistics services, Nippon Express has established local hubs in China to form a country-wide network specifically designed to satisfy these requirements.
"Considering the amount of trade and container movement that takes place in the Asian region, the expansion of our logistics services in China and the Asia-Pacific region has become one of the main pillars of our global strategy," says Jiro Nakamura, executive vice-president and chief managing officer of Nippon Express.
Divided into a global five-hub system (the Americas, Europe, East Asia, South Asia/Oceania and Japan), Nippon Express' global network is extensive. The company is present in more than 394 locations in 37 countries and understands customer requirements within the global logistics sector better than most.
Switching transport from land, rail and air, referred to as "modal shift", is often the most cost-effective and fastest way for clients to move goods. Nippon Express promotes co-operation between companies and has successfully implemented numerous cases of modal shifts throughout its global five-hub system.
Established in 1979, Nippon Express' Hong Kong office has been at a leading position in the company's operations for the entire East Asia region. Excluding Japan, the combined size of Nippon Express' facilities in Shanghai, Hong Kong and the rest of China represent more than 50 per cent of the company's total facilities in Asia and Oceania.
"China is a vitally important market for Nippon Express and is of key strategic importance for us," Nakamura says. "Hong Kong's geographic position as a gateway to the Chinese mainland and its role as a regional hub for Southeast Asia encouraged us to strengthen our position in Hong Kong. The new warehouse facility which we recently opened clearly demonstrates the commitment we have to our customers in Hong Kong."
Its ability to attract foreign direct investment has led to a huge number of international companies establishing offices and facilities in Hong Kong. As a logistics hub, Hong Kong requires a tremendous capacity of warehouse facilities. In order to manage the movement of goods and meet client needs, Nippon Express uses just-in-time (JIT) delivery and vendor-managed inventory (VMI) systems. In addition to packing and price ticketing services, the company also presents customers with Rewards - a patented global inventory management system with additional value incentives to customers who use Nippon Express' warehouse services.
In addition to Hong Kong, the company operates other warehousing facilities with logistics capabilities in major cities on the mainland such as Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
Nippon Express' China-centric Asian expansion prompted the company to develop SS7000, an overland transport network extending more than 7,000 kilometres between Shanghai and Singapore. This corridor uses a vast trucking transport network through major cities across Asia. "The purpose of building an intra-regional supply chain is to provide our customers with multiple low cost integrated solutions to help them reach core markets," Nakamura says.
Eventually, more regions on the mainland will open up and present opportunities which Nakamura intends to capitalise on, "We closely follow the progression of China's growth and see the country continuing its role as an important economic player. At Nippon Express, we look forward to expanding our services to the growing number of developing Chinese cities."
Through its extensive global network and comprehensive transport solutions, Nippon Express is committed to strengthening its position as a total logistics provider.
"We will continue to develop Nippon Express as a best-in-class logistics solutions provider. Adding value to our products and services will be done so in line with keeping costs low. Our business in the mainland and Hong Kong represents a significant part of our global business and we will remain committed to expanding the quality of our services as we continue to work closely with our partners and customers throughout China," Nakamura says.