UNITED Parcel Service (UPS) is to expand its cargo handling facilities at the Kowloon Bay Cargo Centre and customer service operations in Tsim Sha Tsui to cope with rapidly rising customer demand. According to Richard De Souza, UPS Hong Kong country manager, the company has achieved substantial growth over the past five years, with sales volume jumping 1,000 per cent, employees increasing 10-fold and the number of facilities rising from one to six. In the first half of this year, UPS has achieved 45 per cent growth in its express business and 98 per cent growth in its expedited service. ''While we remain strong in the express business, our success in gaining broad market acceptance for our time-definite expedited service has been particularly encouraging,'' said Mr De Souza. He said UPS' success in Hong Kong was a result of its ability to focus, segment the market and provide solutions for specific industries. ''In order to stay ahead of the competition in the highly competitive market place, it is essential to keep expanding our service capabilities and broaden our service portfolio to meet the rapidly changing delivery needs of customers,'' said Mr De Souza. He believes shippers will rapidly move into paperless transactions, and said UPS would stay at the forefront of such trends. ''To facilitate this process, UPS has made significant investment in the development of information technology solutions to provide customers with total distribution and logistics capabilities, with all information that the shipper needs to know,'' Mr DeSouza said. Through the use of EDI (electronic data interchange) and systems-integration technologies, UPS has been able to deliver information ahead of shipments and, in many cases, clear packages through customs systems. Mr De Souza said UPS' integrated system also enables duties to be paid, and allows customers' computers to access package tracking information. ''Such electronic interface is fast becoming the model for the efficient transfer of information between integrated carriers and customers agencies and will be a core element of paperless transaction,'' said Mr De Souza.