Logistics, courier and freight company FedEx Express’ new Asia Pacific hub located at the Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, China is expected to provide Malaysia direct and quick access to one of the most dynamic and largest economic regions.
FedEx Asia Pacific division vice-president for planning, engineering and support Dennice Wilson says that the company’s largest hub outside of the United States would be able to facilitate the growing trade between both Malaysia and China going forward.
“It will be one of the biggest benefits as FedEx flights from Penang and Kuala Lumpur come directly to the hub,” she says in an interview.
FedEx Express Asia Pacific division president David Cunningham concurred that the new Asia-Pacific hub would help strengthen global commerce as it was strategically located in the heart of Guangzhou’s Pearl River Delta – a major centre that produces a third of China’s exports.
According to economic reports, Guangzhou is the transportation, industrial, financial and trade centre of South China. It is a special economic development zone and an important trading point.
In recent years, Guangzhou has gradually increased its investment in communication, transportation and telecommunications, having established a wide and comprehensive communication network.
“The hub links the dynamic economic region to many nations in the FedEx global network, facilitating further development of surrounding industries such as high-tech electronics,” says Cunningham, adding that Malaysia is an important market to FedEx given its high trade volume in the hi-tech sector.
“FedEx holds the highest market share in Malaysia with 12 service centres and over 600 employees serving major companies,” he adds.
The new FedEx Asia Pacific hub, which represents a US$150mil capital investment covers an area of 63 ha, with a total floor space of 82,000 sq m.
The hub employs about 800 people and operates 136 flights a week, providing delivery services to 22 major cities in Asia and linking these cities to more than 220 countries.
Besides the central geographic location and availability of talent, Wilson noted that the present Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport infrastructure support was crucial for air cargo operations.
Baiyun is the second busiest airport in China in terms of passenger traffic and the third busiest in China in terms of air cargo traffic.
“FedEx is allowed to fly freely in and out of the airport,” she says.
Besides that, the hub has its own ramp control tower, a first for an international air express cargo facility in China, which enables FedEx to control aircraft movement on the ground, aircraft parking plans as well as loading and unloading priorities.
The hub is also equipped with a dedicated customs clearance facility.
Also included at the hub are a unique package and sorting system with 16 high-speed sorting lines, seven round-out conveyor belts, and a total of 90 primary and secondary document-sorting splits. With the new advanced system, up to 35,000 packages and documents can be sorted an hour.
FedEx closed its 13-year-old Asia-Pacific hub at Subic Bay of the Philippines in early February but maintained its presence in Manila and Cebu before moving to Guangzhou.
“We had reached maximum capacity of sorting 12,000 packages and documents per hour at Subic Bay. We were unable to expand further due to the geographical limitations,” Wilson says.
With that, the new Guangzhou-based hub with its state-of-the-art automation system is expected to be the centre point of the company’s operations in the region for the next 30 years.