TNT and Con-way Freight jointly announced a time-definite freight service between the US and Europe. Under the agreement, Con-way becomes TNT's primary road transportation partner for deliveries of ‘Economy Express’ parcels and freight across the US. Similarly, Con-way Freight’s network will be linked to TNT’s global air network and Express Road Network, which reaches over 35 countries in Europe.
”We see it as linking two premier networks,” said Matt McDonough, president of TNT Express North America. Both companies have very solid networks, he added. Ed Conaway, executive vice president of sales for Con-way Freight, said they decided to start with the Europe-US lane because “there is a good market for the type of service that we're going to be providing,”
Economy Express service is described as providing economical day-definite express service for freight, including on-demand collection, door-to-door transportation, customs clearance and online track & trace visibility with transit times from Europe to the US of 3-6 days.
On the issue of visibility, both agreed that the information links are in place to provide seamless connections and visibility from end to end. TNT's McDonough said the company had experience linking with other providers, so the systems were already in place and just required working out some details between TNT and Con-way. Conaway added that Con-way's experience linking with APL for its OceanGuaranteed service offered them the same kind of experience creating global connections. That service was launched in 2006 and moves less-than-containerload freight from China to the US and Canada. The company operates a similar service in the Caribbean, TropicalDirect.
Both TNT and Con-way have expressed an interest in expanding the global coverage once the Europe-US service is up and running. “It's a great opportunity for us to expand our global footprint and at the same time we have the OceanGuaranteed service with APL which gives us the ability to be in both markets and grow internationally,” said Conaway. McDonough agrees with the opportunity to expand and points to TNT's road networks in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Beyond the US, APL acknowledges an opportunity to develop its market through Con-way's strong presence in Canada and Mexico. They will already be working together in Canada, and are at an “exploratory” stage in looking beyond that.
The Con-way/APL connection does not present a competitive challenge, say both executives. “We are very respectful of their [APL's] position,” said Conaway. Customer's make a decision on which type of service they need, he added. McDonough suggests the services are actually complementary. He points to TNT customers who use ocean as their primary mode in international lanes but supplement that with air. They are basically looking at where they need the three- to five-days service air offers vs. where they can afford the 15 to 20 days by ocean.