• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 12:33pm
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 1:28am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 1:28am

Why do FedEx vans routinely park illegally in Tsim Sha Tsui?


Howard Winn has been with the South China Morning Post for two and half years after previous stints as business editor and deputy editor of The Standard, and business editor of Asia Times. His writing has also been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He writes the Lai See column which focuses on the lighter side of business.

In 2006 Roger Frock, a former general manager of courier company FedEx, wrote a book about the company entitled Changing How the World Does Business: FedEx's Incredible Journey to Success - The Inside Story. From modest beginnings, FedEx has gone on to become a runaway success. You see FedEx vans all over Hong Kong. But one location in particular has been brought to our attention. Five days a week between 12 noon and 7pm you are almost guaranteed to find a FedEx van parked in the yellow-hatched box at 19 Granville Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. The yellow hatching means that it is illegally parked. Its presence is frequently reported to the police who frequently give the driver a verbal warning. Occasionally if the driver is not around the vehicle is ticketed. The van serves as a cheap mobile office. It's so much cheaper than renting a shop, as other couriers do. The only cost is the occasional ticket, which at HK$320 a pop is hardly going to strain profitability.

Given FedEx's "incredible journey to success," you have wonder why it has to employ such tacky business practices in Hong Kong. Surely persistent offenders like this should be clamped or towed away by the police? Just to rub salt into the wound the van is often one of the 10 electric vans that FedEx bought in 2012, boasting that it demonstrates FedEx's commitment to delivering industry-leading innovation, while reducing its environmental impact. These vehicles were bought under a government pilot scheme to encourage the introduction of electric vehicles and were subsidised by the taxpayer.


Top World Cup drubbings

Germany's 7-1 defeat of Brazil has prompted a scramble through the record books for signs of a worse drubbing. It's not just the numbers but the extent to which expectations were overturned that has caused this result to reverberate around the globe.

Surprisingly, the online Economist has been very much on the ball with its chart that depicts every goal scored in World Cup games by minute. Thus we learn that altogether there have been 2,375 goals, of which 175 were penalties, and 38 were own goals, which altogether resulted in an average of 2.9 goals per game. It can also be observed from the graphic that the most goals have been scored in the 18th and 75th minute.

As for the biggest defeats in World Cup history, Hungary beat El Salvador 10-1 in 1982. Hungary also pummelled South Korea 9-0 in 1954. Germany beat Saudi Arabia 8-0 in 2002, and let's not forget Scotland's 7-0 thumping by Uruguay in 1954.


Upgrading NPOs

The law firm Clifford Chance is to organise a series of workshops for non-profit organisations (NPOs) aimed at improving their board governance. This follows a survey of 50 NPOs together with Asian Charity Services which found that while non-profit board members are inspired by their organisation's mission and values, they wanted to improve in areas such as long-term planning at the board level, more effective processes for the board, routine reviews and updates on internal policies and regular performance evaluations.

There were some 7,194 NPOs in Hong Kong as of 2012 with revenues of between several hundred thousand dollars to HK$400 million. The survey notes that while NPOs receive widespread support from the community and corporations in Hong Kong in terms of time and donations, recent scandals within the global non-profit community have directed greater public attention towards the board governance of NPOs, including how donation dollars are spent.


Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com


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This article is now closed to comments

@ FedEx vans : - I have often wondered why those unfortunate residents who are forced pay high rents to live in cramped bed spaces and sub-divided flats do not employ the same tactic as FedEx. Buy a cheap second-hand van or people carrier and just park in on the street as a home. You could pick up a van for a few month's rent and then just park it for free on the street most convenient to you. I suggest that you move it a few car spaces periodically to prevent the police from treating it as an abandoned vehicle.
If you work in Central just park your mobile home in Pedder Street alongside all those other illegally parked taipan's vehicles. Tickets? Don't even bother about them. Just leave them unpaid and only after a couple of years of non-payment will the authorities even think about looking for and seizing your "home". By this time you will have saved enough on rents to just buy another van and start over again.
If you prefer a sea-view . Just paint "Mr Softee" on the side of the van, buy a cheap music box with a jingly tune and you can even park right outside the Star Ferry with minimal interference and leave your engine idling all night to power the air-conditioning.
Q: Why do FedEx vans routinely park illegally in Tsim Sha Tsui?
A: Because they are allowed to do so.
That is Carnarvon Road, not Granville Road.

And in this particular instance, I don't really see the big deal. This actually used to be a parking bay not long ago (still visible on Google Street View). It is carved out from the road, and parking a van there does not obstruct traffic in any way. So while technically illegal, this is hardly an issue worthy devoting much energy too.
S.F. Express vans are even worse. The company is using the yellow hatched box at Wyndham Street by Queens Road to sort and distribute its packages everyday to avoid paying high rental space fees. It creates traffic chaos in busy Central, so unethical and unfair to public. Government should charge heavy fines for such repeated violations.
SF Express are by far the worst offenders. I can only talk about Sheung Wan, but in the morning there are at least 10 vehicles ranging from vans and lorries in that area, I counted 6 vans by the 7-11 on Jervois Street just 2 days ago. They not only use the road as their company parking but also the pavements to sort out their packages. The units they have are too small to operate within and they have no parking - so who gives them to operate from these locations. Simple question SF Express - how many vehicles do you have and how many parking spaces do you own or rent?
While this article singles out FedEx, actually delivery vans for all of the local courier service operators including DHL, UPS, SF, etc., do the same thing whenever they have the opportunity. And, this takes place in all business districts on HK Island as well as in Kowloon.
Fedex- You guys have seen noting. Fedex is creating mayhem every evening between 5 and 7 in front of their base on Wai Yip Street - HK Island dwellers please look it up - with double and triple parked vans. Parking cars is obviously not part of their expertise in logistics.
John Adams
Q: Why are they allowed to do so ?
A: Because the police can only be bothered to book illegally parked vehicles on Sundays and public holidays when they don't have anything else much to do
Oh no. Sundays and public holidays are when protest marches are held and policemen have to be out in force.
Need to increase the ticket charges and ACTUALLY enforce them. Another great new spot is on Prat Avenue, TST. They have fantastically just widened the sidewalk on one side of the street because there is so much pedestrian traffic...so now drivers simply park their cars and vans up on the sidewalk. The brand new sidewalk is already covered in oil stains. What they need to do is eliminate the one lane of hourly parking to discourage people from driving into those highly congested areas and turn that lane into a 15 min max loading zone that is STRICTLY enforced (unlike other streets where tour buses sit for hours).




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