Global express company TNT has launched a service linking its Liege, Belgium hub and Shanghai via Singapore. In announcing the service, Marie-Christine Lombard, group managing director of TNT Express, said the Liege-Singapore-Shanghai-Liege routing will improve capacity utilization and create new opportunities from South East Asia and China.
There is a €21 billion market for express in Europe, she continued, and intra-Europe, TNT is the number one carrier. The China service helps feed the European network, but there were fewer exports direct to China.
Its China-Europe lane was experiencing a 92% capacity westbound and 39% eastbound, Lombard pointed out. TNT knew to expect an imbalance in utilization, but this imbalance was expensive for the company because it was outsourcing the lift to commercial carriers. With the addition of its own 747 freighter, TNT reduced its cost and improved utilization.
In an approach that sounds more like a maritime routing, TNT was able to improve the balance on its Europe-Asia lane by flying from the Liege hub to Singapore, and then to Pudong in Shanghai. The exports to Singapore and volumes moving from Singapore to China mean the 747 is cost justified with very little incremental freight.
The company's earlier acquisition of Hoau in China provides it with a leading ground service, though it is modeled on a less-than-truckload service rather than an express service. TNT's freight network model calls for time-definite departures to meet cut-offs for the air connection. The less-than-truckload operations typically look for equipment optimization and will fill the vehicle before dispatching it. TNT is in the process of evolving operations to fit its express model.
The Europe-Singapore-China-Europe service began on June 25th.