UPS will expand its forwarding footprint in Asia under the guidance of new regional forwarding chief Jeff McCorstin, whose official appointment as president of global freight forwarding for the Asia-Pacific region was announced Tuesday.
Speaking exclusively to the JOC, he said his responsibility was to grow the company’s Asia-Pacific forwarding business across all modes. “We see China as the growth engine, but it’s not just about China,” he said. “We’ve invested in a wholly owned small-package express company in Vietnam which, with the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, is a great opportunity. That will bring down trade barriers and provides opportunities for us.
“The Philippines is seeing great growth this year, and we can leverage our integrated network there which includes 24 weekly flights out of Clark, Manila and Cebu," McCorstin said. "From a forwarding perspective, we’re under-represented in the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, so even if the market was only growing at 3 to 4 percent, there are opportunities for us.”
McCorstin will focus on air, ocean, rail and road freight strategy, revenue growth and specialized transportation services across 40 countries and territories in Asia.
“My vision and goal here is to leverage my 23 years of experience to bring creative solutions to market in Asia,” he said. “Our teams are very capable so I need to provide that talent with opportunities.”
He said UPS would continue to open new offices in China and has city pair licenses to operate forwarding and parcel services on key domestic routes where he expects further growth and expansion in future.
McCorstin also sees intra-Asia trade lanes as a huge opportunity. “The Intra-Asia trade lane has become the largest in world,” he said. “From a UPS freight forwarding perspective, it’s an opportunity, and we see it as a major growth area because intra-Asia will continue to grow.
“We’re already strong on the trans-Pacific, but we want a greater share of intra-Asia for air and ocean, and also road and rail.”
Despite UPS’s standing as a global giant in express markets, McCorstin admits many customers even in high-tech sectors are now looking for the most cost-effective and sustainable supply chain solution rather than just the fastest. “We are in this to offer a wide breadth and depth of service, not point our customers toward solutions that don’t make sense for them,” he said. “We consult with them on what they need, and if that means moving from a fast solution to a cost-effective solution, from air to ocean, then we can do that.”
He is examining how best to expand UPS’s existing customer-specific cross-border trucking services, which offer savings against air but speed gains versus ocean. Rail services to Europe are also becoming viable, he said, and UPS already has run tests on routes from Chengdu, Zhengzhou and Shanghai, although further progress will require greater service reliability, security and product protection.
“The tests show it can be seven to 10 days less time than ocean,” he said. “Is it repeatable daily? No, not yet. But trains are running weekly in some cities and monthly in others with 40-plus railcars. There’s not much volume, but it’s a trade opportunity for customers who wish to move from air to rail.
“At the end of the day, UPS will provide solutions that meet the needs of our customers. As we challenge ourselves to go further, our customers can do more.”
Contact Mike King at firstname.lastname@example.org.