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DHL Global Forwarding Sees Increasing Air Freight Growth in intra-Asia Trade Routes

Thailand’s air freight volumes have been growing rapidly over recent years. This is due in part to changing lifestyles in the region, the urgency needed in deliveries, the growth of e-commerce and the emergence of a unified AEC.

As such, DHL Global Forwarding has kept a close eye on the dynamic trends of this trade. This has allowed them to already be prepared and have strategies in place for the increasing volume we’re seeing. DHL Global Forwarding is ready to accommodate the expanding appetite of intra-Asia with their fast and efficient services known throughout the industry.

Expanding Trade
intra-Asia trade lanes are experiencing an increase in cargo volumes across the board under all modes of transportation. As emerging markets continue to pop up along intra-Asia trade lanes, and with a boost in the bourgeoisies’ middle-class population, the purchasing power of many countries are booming as well. With the need for fast, secure and efficient transportation services, air freight has quickly become the defacto method for transportation across the region.

The expanding need for air transportation has been partly affected by the emergence of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which has increased the interconnectivity of trade and economies within the region. Industries are benefiting hugely from the coalition, especially amongst the commodity and electronics sectors. While the commodity sector recorded the highest movement amongst ASEAN countries, Thailand’s electronics sector scored the highest export portion for the region.

Ministry of Commerce recorded that the first quarter import values were US$ 81.1 billion, a 17.18% increase YOY, and export values reached US$ 81.77 billion, a 11.53% increase YOY.

To further discuss and dissect the trends of the air freight industry with intra-Asia, we spoke with DHL Global Forwarding (Thailand)’s sector heads in charge of different air freight categories to get their perspective on future solutions and their readiness to provide smooth and seamless services to customers.

Growing Air Freight Demand
Thailand is currently in a peak position to respond to the sharp increase in air transportation demand. With an ongoing economic expansion, its strategic location, and growing infrastructure make Thailand a prime candidate to become a major transportation hub for the region.

Ms. Suvannee Suttilertkun, Head of Key Account Management

“In a nutshell, Thailand’s air freight industry has been expanding exponentially both for imports and exports, especially for intra-Asia trade routes. Because Thailand is quickly becoming a major Asia-Pacific transportation hub, it has opened up more opportunities for us to manage the transportation needs of the industry. Facilities and infrastructure in neighboring countries such as Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia are not as fully developed, and they are unable to accommodate a large air freight volume. Our multi-modal solutions have also proved to be an effective missing link for cargo destined to other countries, especially for oversized cargo.

With a wide variety of services and a strong global network, DHL Global Forwarding is able to offer services to suit almost any customer. For example, direct flights, air chartering, general air freight, warehouse cross dock, last mile and consolidation services. We also have a team of specialists able to advise and offer the best solution to suit customer needs.”

 Ms. Sasithorn Viravan, Sector Head – Energy and Chemical

“Volumes in the energy and chemical segments have risen sharply over the past couple years, and in fact chemical export volumes have almost doubled. Most of our customers are chemical product producers importing raw materials to mix, produce, and package before releasing to the domestic market.

A driver for part of our success come from DHL Global Forwarding’s Dangerous Goods (DG) specialization. Our experts are very efficient in verifying and giving advice to customers shipping DG, resulting in more cargo volumes being entrusted to us.

We can also accommodate oversized project cargo for customers in the Energy industry, including transportation of drilling equipment which we take care of right from the beginning. Starting from inspecting the equipment, packing, to exploring transportation routes and finding the best way to transport the cargo to its destination, we do it all.”

Ms. Sasithorn Buddewong, Team Leader – Key Accounts and Sector Head – Life Science and Healthcare

“For the Biotechnology and Healthcare Industry, we have a product developed specifically to serve their needs. ‘DHL Thermonet’ is our special service for temperature-controlled cargo. Each shipment is accompanied by an operating procedure (SOP) and will be handled differently depending on the type of cargo and customer requirement.

Our team taking care of the operations are well trained and verified by DHL Germany. Containers used in this service are equipped with smart sensors to track the status of the cargo and temperature inside throughout the operation. Customers can rest assured that the temperature of the shipment is always within the required threshold, as medicine and vaccines transported are of high value and sensitive to the change in temperature.

On top of fast and secure transport services, DHL Global Forwarding also provides value added services such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) procedural and permission processes and requests for LPI (License per Invoice) via an online channel. We have customs procedural and clearance experts to serve customers and can provide last mile delivery services to the warehouse or destined hospitals all under our one-stop service.”

Ms. Sarinya Suthaporn, Team Leader – Key Accounts and Sector Head – Consumer and Retail

“Some of the growth in cargo volumes we’ve been experiencing are from express cargo shipments that need to arrive within a designated sales season. For example, Summer products need to be in the market during summer, and any delays in production may require the customer to shift from sea freight to air freight. This kind of seasonal volume is particularly high and DHL Global Forwarding has a vast and strong network to accommodate customer needs seamlessly.

Brand name products are one of the strongest growing segments in the sector I manage. Customer margins are such that they prefer to ship their products via air freight, as fast transportation is absolutely vital to best serving the needs of their clients.”

Ms. Somchit Sangsikaew, Sector Head – Technology

“The technology sector is one of the fastest continual growing segments for air freight cargo in the region. This year we’ve experienced that customers are growing more concerned over cost savings, so we are concentrating on solutions that directly respond to their needs. In order to achieve this goal, we’ve invested in developing our staff to be able to give the best service, and by understanding customer needs we are better able to offer the most suitable solution for them.

For tech customers in Thailand, DHL Global Forwarding places an emphasize on our air freight exporting services, where our main service destinations include India, China, Taiwan, and Korea. Naturally, tech cargo has a distinct need to arrive to market quickly, so we have to assist our customers as much as we can to ensure the shortest transit times.”

Ms. Anongnat Prapinpongsanone, Sector Head – Automotive and Manager, Key Account Laem Chabang

“For the automotive segment, DHL Global Forwarding is specialized in buyer consolidation services. Automotive imports come mostly from Europe or America and export cargo is shipped mainly to intra-Asia markets such as Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Although many car manufacturers have begun relocating to neighboring countries, skilled labor workers as well as important and delicate parts manufacturing are still done in Thailand and are in fact expanding; especially for OEM auto parts manufacturers.

DHL Global Forwarding has a service called DHL Interactive (DHLi), which provides a status report for all types of cargo. Customers are informed immediately once the shipment begins moving and can also choose to receive reports daily or weekly to learn about the cargos whereabouts and estimated time to delivery.”  

Ms. Piraya Wongprach, Tradelane Manager, Americas and Sector Head – Engineering and Manufacturing

“Air freight management for engineering and manufacturing are most concerned with bringing in components, spare parts, and manufacturing tools to Thailand. Most of our customers are global corporations that import this cargo for domestic manufacturing before re-export as finished goods or to distribute into the local market.

We also offer a value-added express shipping service called ‘DHL Same Day.’ The service can provide rapid delivery for urgent express shipments, which is especially useful in cases such as a production line break downs where spare parts are urgently needed. This service is a lifesaver in fixing emergency problems and reduces losses and damages for our customers. Staff will personally hand carry the needed cargo onboard an airplane to deliver to the destination, ensuring this is the fastest and most responsive service available to customers.”

Ms. Yuda Lasorn, Field Sales Team Leader

“Serving small and medium sized business customers based in Thailand, we provide services to many customer groups including consumer products, perishables and live plants. DHL Global Forwarding (Thailand) also looks to provide expanded services to more orchid exporters with our worldwide connections. On the import side of the business, we are focusing more on fashion and lifestyle products as consumers are demanding the need for more niche and hi-end brands and products. We are seeing rapid growth in terms of volume for this sector.

Perishables, especially ingredients for authentic cuisines, are growing in importance as importing ingredients from origin countries is extremely important. Responding to Thai’s increasing fondness for an ‘original’ taste and the expansion of an expat population, DHL Global Forwarding is growing our local specialists to support customers in this sector as well as the experts in origin countries like Australia, New Zealand, America and European countries.”

DHL Global Forwarding has established strong trust and reliability with their customers by developing a strong global network, a high standard of service worldwide and a variety of solutions to suit the needs of customers in all industries. They have also pushed to upgrade their services, responding to the increasing demands for air transportation in intra-Asia via personnel development programs and are striving to lay out a sustainable industry development process by providing cargo management training for customers in each specific industry.

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