Fedex pushes for terminal

THE Government is facing mounting pressure as Federal Express (Fedex) joins DHL Worldwide Express to lobby for a dedicated terminal at the new Chek Lap Kok airport for the express industry.

Mr John Allison Fedex managing director for Hongkong, Macau and China, said although the current level of services provided by a third party through Kai Tak airport was good, Fedex would be able to outdo this service level with its own terminal.

''If the goods were within our hands and if we were to keep the loop closed, and we control the movement of the goods all the way through, then certainly we can hold ourselves more responsible than we can a third party,'' he said.

His statement follows DHL International general manager Andy Tseng's recent statement that failure to improve Kai Tak's cargo-handling facilities - which is already forcing foreign companies to re-route parcels via Singapore - will hurt the territory's pivotal role in world trade.

The courier company claims packages clear customs and cargo processes in just one hour in Singapore's express cargo centre compared with three or four hours in Hongkong.

DHL Worldwide Express is proposing a completely separate terminal and cargo handling operator for express cargo at Chek Lap Kok, run by a co-operative body similar to Hongkong Air Cargo Terminal Ltd in which DHL would be a major shareholder.

It claims this proposal would streamline the process by bringing under one roof responsibility for both ground handling rights as well as terminal operation rights.

Mr Allison said Fedex would also take full responsibility for all parcels handled by it when using an express cargo terminal.

''I think express companies would be best served by that (dedicated terminal) because the shipments are so time sensitive and we have to move it through with great expediency thereby provide the best service,'' he said.

Mr Allison said the even more importantly, Fedex would be able to provide customers with the most up-to-date information about the status of their parcels at any point of time through its tracking and tracing service.

Fedex, which was currently reviewing its plans and strategies, was considering establishing a fourth cargo processing station in Hongkong in addition to its existing three stations, Mr Allison said.

''Our three stations and administrative complex are filled to the brim with people and packages,'' he said, adding that he was looking at either expanding existing facilities or looking for new facilities.

The express company was also planning to introduce a development and successorship programme this summer to provide opportunities to its employees to encourage them to stay with the establishment for life, he said.

Mr Allison said Fedex, which was already established in all major cities in the Asia Pacific region, would continue to develop in areas where it was less established like China.

The courier company is presently providing services to less than two dozen cities in the mainland through the Sinotrans network, including major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, he said.

Fedex was also looking at entering the Vietnam market once the United States embargo on transportation was lifted, he added.