Only one of four companies invited to submit bids on a controversial dedicated express facility at Chek Lap Kok was prepared to confirm its participation as submissions closed yesterday. Industry sources said a second company was believed to have submitted a bid to the Airport Authority, but the two other firms have said they are not interested in the project. The news brings into question whether the authority's guidelines for the development of the cargo terminal were commercially viable, especially given the economic downturn and the slow pace of talks on air services expansion between Hong Kong and the United States. DHL Worldwide Express, a Brussels-based company whose international operations were founded in Hong Kong, was the only company that would confirm its submission. The industry sources said Federal Express was also believed to have submitted a proposal, although company officials would not comment. Authority corporate communications manager Wong Sau-ying declined to comment, citing confidentiality agreements with the parties involved. However, Ms Wong said the authority had received a 'good reaction' to its proposals, sent to the four authorised bidders in the form of a closed tender document just before Christmas. She added that a winner would be selected by the end of the year, following a six- to seven-month consultation period. A DHL official confirmed its submission, adding that the proposal outlined the company's views regarding the facility and the conditions under which it felt it would be 'acceptable' to go ahead with the investment. United Parcel Service (UPS), the world's largest express package carrier, declined to submit a bid. Charles Adams, president of UPS Asia Pacific, said in a statement: 'After careful consideration, UPS has decided not to participate in the bid for the proposed express cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport. 'UPS is unable to justify a substantial investment in [the facility] given our inability to secure beyond rights to serve third countries from Hong Kong.' TNT International Express also did not submit a bid, citing timing issues. 'We are still interested [in developing the facility], but the timing is not right,' a spokesman said.