DHL is investing in new facilities in the Philippines on the back of improving economic growth and the expansion of air freight capacity at Clark International Airport.
The former U.S. military base received its first wide-bodied aircraft earlier today when Emirates commenced operation of a daily B777-300ER link to Dubai.
Other full-service carriers, including Qatar Airways, are also understood to be considering starting operations into the airport, which is located 40 miles northwest of metro Manila and offers ample room for expansion of supporting cargo operations, unlike Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s major air gateway.
DHL Global Forwarding will open a new 300 square meter office and warehouse later this month at Clark that will be staffed by around 30 employees. “Clark is going to act as a catchment area for northern Luzon,” Stephen Ly, country manager, told JOC at his office in Manila yesterday. “This will mean avoiding routing back to Manila.
“Emirates give us good options, mainly into Europe. We expect more wide-bodied services from Clark, plus there are also lots of narrow-bodied planes there,” he said.
“Clark would also get more traffic from industrial zones south of Manila if there was a faster road or rail link but the traffic is a bit unpredictable at the moment.”
DHL GF currently operates 11 offices covering the Philippines archipelago, but some 80 percent of its business is located in the heavily populated and industrialized island of Luzon.
With consumer demand growing and the potential of the Philippines’ natural resources huge, Ly is upbeat about medium-term prospects. Plans are already in place to expand operations in Mindanao by the end of the year.
But he said rapid GDP growth this year was largely the result of domestic consumption, remittances from workers overseas and the successful development of call centers and other offshore services, rather than any major increase in trade.
“People are spending more, but the growth isn’t really being reflected in exports,” he said. “It’s mainly domestic consumption, so freight growth isn’t that strong.”
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