DHL opens fashion logistics centre

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 May, 2009, 12:00am

DHL, the world's leading logistics company, has opened its first Asia-Pacific fashion logistics centre in Hong Kong, saying the product is more resilient than other cargo during the global downturn.

About HK$100 million has been invested in the centre as well as the new 120,000 square foot DHL Global Forwarding office in Kwai Chung.

The centre was the first of its kind for DHL in the Asia-Pacific and the third in Asia after Sri Lanka and India, said Hermann Ude, the chief executive of DHL Global Forwarding.

The cargo volume in DHL's global forwarding division dropped more than 30 per cent on average in the first quarter, while the decline in technology products was even worse. However, fashion products only fell 18 to 20 per cent during the period.

'The fashion business is a fast-moving industry with low inventory,' said Mr Ude.

'It is like cheese. If you are two to three weeks late, the cheese will be sour.'

In addition to Hong Kong, DHL was also looking into setting up fashion centres in Bangladesh, Vietnam and China, Mr Ude said.

The fashion and apparel sector comprised 11 per cent of exports in Hong Kong last year. It climbed to 16 per cent in the first two months following a decline in other cargoes.

By value, the fashion and apparel industry is Hong Kong's second-largest, with exports worth more than US$26 billion.

'Hong Kong has a lot of good traders and procurement companies, which makes it an ideal place for sourcing, merchandising and distributing fashion,' said Kelvin Leung, the chief executive of DHL Global Forwarding North Asia Pacific.

Hong Kong's total air freight exports for the fashion and apparel sector amounted to more than 130,000 tonnes, while ocean freight amounted to more than 270,000 20-foot equivalent units (teu) last year. The air and ocean freight sectors are expected to reach more than 124,000 tonnes and 276,000 teu, respectively, this year.