Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. and Memphis, Tenn.-based Federal Express Corp. are each expanding their express delivery services and operations in China, moves that spokespersons from each company say will facilitate Georgia firms’ operations in Asia. UPS announced last week that it will offer express package service across much of the China by September after taking over 23 locations previously operated by its state-owned partner China National Foreign Trade Transportation (Group) Corp., known as Sinotrans. FedEx Express announced plans to build a new Asia-Pacific hub at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in southern China, replacing its existing hub in Subic Bay, Philippines, in December 2008. Each company said China’s growing importance in global trade warranted the expansion decisions that will be beneficial to Georgia companies doing business in the region. “UPS’ expanding presence in the China market offers Georgia businesses enhanced access to the world’s fastest growing economy. Now, the ‘slow boat’ from Brunswick to China is more likely to be a UPS ‘browntail’ loaded with goods from Georgia for China’s burgeoning middle class,” UPS spokesperson Rebecca Treacy-Lenda told GlobalAtlanta. “Guangzhou is such a manufacturing mecca for China. The area is always looking for resources, so whatever Georgia has to contribute to manufacturing there can be serviced by FedEx,” said Lourdes Pena, spokesperson for FedEx. “The move [to Guangzhou from the Philippines] is a response to our customers; we go where they’re doing the most business,” she said, adding that the company needs the larger physical facility the new location can provide. Both FedEx and UPS are capitalizing on mandates by the World Trade Organization requiring China to allow more foreign ownership in the country, and the companies are competing for dominance in logistics and package delivery the region. Beginning in September, UPS will be the first foreign entity to operate completely independently in China, operating its international express mail businesses within China with its own drivers and vehicles.

FedEx does not yet have plans for its own such operations, but its new $150 million Guangzhou facility is expected to secure its stronghold in the Chinese package delivery market. The new facility is to have a total floor space of 82,000 square meters on 155 acres and will be able to sort up to 24,000 packages per hour, which is double the capacity of the current facility in the Philippines.

UPS’ logistics division, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, already has more than 40 logistics centers in China. But it recently opened three new warehouse and freight distribution centers in Shanghai, Suzhou and Futian and plans to open 20 more facilities over the next two years.

FedEx and UPS are also neck-and-neck in airfreight service to China. After the United States and China negotiated an expanded aviation rights agreement last year, UPS became the first U.S. airline to launch nonstop service to Guangzhou. The company began direct flights to China 18 times per week and expects to add three daily flights in 2006. FedEx still has the largest number of weekly flights going into and out of China with 23 flights per week. In March, the company launched the industry’s first direct flight from mainland China to Europe. FedEx, which entered China in 1984, already had the largest express transportation network in the Asia-Pacific region. UPS has been in China since 1988.

Asia remains the world’s fastest growing regional airfreight market, expected to grow at 8.5 percent annually until 2023. China’s increasing movement of semi-finished manufactured goods and rising consumption is expected to remain a key factor in the country’s airfreight growth. Airfreight from China to the U.S. is expected to grow 9.6 percent per year and traffic to Europe at 9.3 percent over the next 20 years.

Visit or for more information.