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FedEx making most of India's business boom from China hub

September 28, 2012 14:34 IST

It is operations of a different kind at the international airport here when FedEx's "midnight hub" comes alive, taking advantage of the complete pause in the activities at the airport for four hours every night.

About dozen of its aircraft fly in and out to pick up and drop cargo during this time to make exclusive use of the runways.

Hubs are not new to FedEx, which operates many of them from nooks and corners of the world, including from India, as a global logistic service.

But its operations at the Baiyun International Airport here takes the cake as about 13 of its flights land, unload, load and take off in a four hour time making exclusive use of the two runways when there are no activities.

FedEx officials say their Asia Pacific hub here known as the "midnight hub" is one their best marketing and technological innovation.

This has been undertaken, taking advantage of a major opening provided by the Chinese government in 2009 permitting it to make use of the runways despite no operations for a few hours at the airport.

"Night after night, everything is done in a clock work precision as we have to take full advantage of the night window" Rakesh Shalia, MD, Marketing, FedEx's Indian subcontinent, Middle East and Africa said.

FedEx looks at Guangzhou hub as a strategic investment to take full advantage of the massive increase in e-business.

"The e-business

market is registering an explosive growth in India. Already we are seeing a 40 to 50 percent growth in that sector", he told PTI.

The hub helps FedEx to rush e-business orders from place to place.

With FDI retail poised to step into India, the US multinational feel the hub will play a key role in helping take full advantage of it.

Besides permission for night operations, China has provided a 36 hectare land adjacent to the airport where the US logistic giant has built a sprawling fully automated conveyer belt to handle 35,000 packets an hour operated by 800 staff, mostly locals.

The hub helps FedEx to take advantage of the booming trade volumes between India, China and India-ASEAN countries, Shalia said.

FedEx had decided to shift its operations to Guangzhou from Subicbay in Philippines in 2009 after being assured of certain advantages.

The airport here offered two runways besides a promise to construct one more for its big flights Boeing 777s.

The hub also helps FedEx India operations with three flights from New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

India-Asia lane is the fastest growing market in the world offering huge potential for market expansion and global trade, David Canavan, Vice President, Domestic Operations and Integration, in India said.

FedEx employs about 7500 workers in India. FedEx operates 31 frequencies from India a week from 12 customs clearance points, catering to exports as well as imports, he said.

K J M Varma in Guangzhou, China
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