Global express company TNT began scheduled intra-Asia road services linking China and five countries in Southeast Asia. The Asia Road Network is 30% cheaper than air and three times faster than sea, said TNT. The services are initially available from the south of China via international road services to Southeast Asia. The second step of the service links with the Chinese domestic network to connect Southeast Asia locations with other parts of China.
The Asia Road Network connects to TNT's international express network at Nanning, the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province.
TNT's Asia Road Network was first introduced at the end of 2005 and now links over 125 cities across 5,000 km (3,100 miles) in Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Laos. It features door-to-door, day-definite distribution service with track and trace capabilities. Truck departures are scheduled and the vehicles are tracked using real-time global positioning systems (GPS).
“China is a very important market for TNT's strategic growth in the region; similarly, the Chinese market is also integral to many of our regional and global clients,” says Marie-Christine Lombard, group managing director of TNT's Express division. “This extension in China is driven by customer demand,” she continued. “Being customer focused is at the center of how TNT approaches business. Our customers want reliable, cost effective, and secure transportation solutions and this unique service is exactly that.”
The extension of TNT's Asia Road Network into China is timely as regional trade is expected to thrive. Under the impending China-ASEAN Free Trade Area to be set up with six ASEAN countries in 2010, the estimated bilateral trade volume between China and ASEAN will reach US$250 billion, up from US$160 billion in 2006, according to the Ministry of Transport of the People's Republic of China.
“Our road service provides more choice to customers shipping to and from China, said Michael Drake, managing director of TNT Greater China. “It is up to three times faster than sea freight and up to 30% cheaper than air freight. That is a winning formula in times of high fuel prices,”
Due to China's geographical proximity and close business links, Vietnam, in particular, will benefit from TNT's completed Asia Road Network. As Vietnam's economy continues to grow, bilateral trade volume between both countries is on the increase and offers strong business opportunities for TNT.