A sharp Dart for DHL

With a strong and well-established presence in China through its longstanding joint venture with Sinotrans, a joint venture with Cathay Pacific and Air Hong Kong and most recently the announcement of a new US$175 million Shanghai hub, the global express giant is now focusing on building up its existing presence in India. By Donald Urquhart.

Although India still accounts for a much smaller portion of DHL’s Asian business compared to China, DHL Asia Pacific CEO, Daniel J. McHugh said he expects India to move into the top two or three markets for DHL Express within the next 3-4 years. Much of this time lag is a result of years of under-development in the country’s crumbling infrastructure, something thatis slowly being remedied.

The group signaled its serious interest in the Indian domestic market when it made a key investment in India’s largest domestic express player with a US$163 million acquisition of an 81 per cent stake in Blue Dart Express during the thirdquarter of 2007.

"Blue Dart is an amazing company and it is completely complimentary with the business philosophy of DHL Express, which is to be the best and fastest in every market," McHugh said in an interviewwith NDTV.

"As the market matures and the consumer income rises because of employment and investment, the road network and ground express network becomesmuch more important trade facilitator.

"So Blue Dart’s strategy going forward is to develop a ground express business to compliment its already dominant airexpress business," he said.

Together with Blue Dart, DHL has a market share of over 60 per cent of the domestic market in terms of shipments, with over 7.2 million shipments handled in 2007 with the Indian express industry growing at approximately 25 per centannually.