14 August 2015

DHL Global Forwarding rolls out pan-Asian road freight network

DHL Global Forwarding, a provider of air, sea and road freight services in Europe and Asia, has rolled out an integrated road freight network that links five key Asian cities - Singapore, Penang, Bangkok, Hanoi and Shenzhen. The new service taps the acceleration of road freight growth in Asia Pacific which is forecast at a CAGR of 8.3% from 2014 to 2019 and expected to drive the sector to a value of US$822 billion by the end of 2019*.

Source: DHL.

Delivered under DHL AsiaConnect's Less-than-Truckload (LTL) service, the interconnecting five-city service offers a seamless interconnecting delivery service with improved time and cost efficiencies and assures a consistent level of service quality regardless of the destination. DHL AsiaConnect was launched in 2011 connecting Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and now links to the existing Vietnam-China connection.

Road freight offers a viable alternative to other transportation modes, providing a more cost-effective option than air freight as well as faster shipment than sea freight. For instance, the transit time for ocean freight between Shenzhen and Bangkok takes around 13 days while the road freight option only takes five days. In comparison, air freight takes a shorter transit time of four days but will cost significantly more. There are daily departures from five cities and a sample of the transit time is as follows: 

Singapore to Penang: One day
Bangkok to Hanoi: Three days
Shenzhen to Hanoi: Two days
Shenzhen to Bangkok: Five days
Penang to Shenzhen: Six days

The five-city interconnecting road freight network comes at a time when China's One Belt, One Road2 initiative is taking shape and expected to strengthen cross-border economic ties in markets between Europe and Asia. Specifically, the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt aims to enhance economic cohesiveness through infrastructure and wider trade links across the markets between Europe and Asia while the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is oriented towards ASEAN, putting DHL's integrated five-city road freight network in good stead to tap the growth potential of the One Belt, One Road strategy.

"DHL's integrated road freight network touches five crucial Asian markets - Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and China - which are expected to play prominent roles in China's One Belt, One Road and other initiatives in the region such as the ASEAN Economic Community," said Kelvin Leung, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific. 

"Across the region, the total GDP of all 10 ASEAN countries combined was US$2.4 trillion3 in 2013 while China's GDP alone was US$10.3 trillion4 in 2014. ASEAN's global trade hit US$2.51 trillion3 in 2013 and China consistently appears among the top five trade partners for ASEAN members5. We are confident that intra-Asia trade will continue to grow and our road freight network stands ready to support the potential trade expansion from these initiatives." 

DHL's integrated road freight network will be advantageous for upcoming economic initiatives promoting trade and integration, having laid the groundwork that already links key Asian markets. For example, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)6 which is set to be established by the end of 2015, aims to create a single ASEAN market and production base facilitated by bilateral trade agreements and financial policies. The blueprint encompasses cross-border cooperation in various focus areas including capacity building, enhanced infrastructure and communication connectivity, and the development of electronic transactions. Brought to fruition, AEC will lead to a thriving ASEAN region amid the free movement of goods, services, investment and skilled labour.

DHL's multimodal network includes air, rail, road and sea, is positioned to support trade expansions across different regions. DHL's road freight network features GPS-equipped trucks to ensure customer goods are monitored for safety and tracked every step of the way, providing complete supply chain visibility. Road vehicles are also armed with anti-hijacking tools and are constantly in touch 24x7 with DHL's Command Center, which will be alerted immediately should the need arise.