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FedEx to open four more centres

Tunia Cherian George

MUMBAI, June 9

EXPRESS transportation company, FedEx Express, plans to expand its geographical presence in India by opening four more centres shortly. The company currently has offices at eight centres, covering 80 per cent of the export market.

According to Mr Birender Ahluwalia, Marketing Manager, West Asia, Indian Sub-continent and Africa, the company expects to cover the entire export market with the appointment of authorised shipping partners (ASPs), who would help develop smaller businesses for FedEx. ASPs include office courier services with their own list of customers.

Mr Ahluwalia told Business Line that FedEx would provide training and technical know-how to the ASPs, who would sell services to their customers, extending the concept of `network marketing.'

Under the arrangement, FedEx enters into formal agreements with the ASPs, thus reaching out to customers who are not accessible. However, the pricing offered by the ASPs would be similar to that charged by FedEx, he said. The ASPs have extended FedEx's services in non-metros centres such as Coimbatore, Tirupur, Kochi, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Guwahati, he said.

On the impact of the Gulf war and the outbreak of SARS in the South-East Asian countries, he said: "Our growth momentum guided us through this crisis period". While refusing to give numbers, he said business "seems to have outgrown the market (exports grew 18 per cent last year) significantly in April, May and June." He added that the cargo business grew 21 per cent last year, while garment and gems and jewellery shipments "took off" during this period.

Focussing on the range of customer services developed by the company, Mr Ahluwalia said the company has identified segments such as garments, engineering goods and gems and jewellery for coverage under its customer relation module, which tracks, in advance, the path that a shipment will take as it is moves from point A to point B.

The company was also automating customer shipments with a solution called the FedEx Ship Manager. The solution, accessible at www.fedex.com, helps customers prepare Air Waybills to 180 countries online. The service saves time and money, while reducing the risk of errors. The system also does away with the need to handle standard forms.

During the next year, the company plans to push a sorting software, FedEx International Priority Direct Distribution, that will automate the sorting of a single large package, comprising a number of smaller packages addressed to different cities in the destination country. The software will reduce the distribution time and save costs at the destination, he said.

The company had also recently launched the Global Trade Manager, an automatic documentation solution targeted at exporters.

The software helps streamline the paperwork involved at both the point of origin and destination.

The software has been deployed at several countries including the US, the UK, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE, he said.

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