TNT hits the road in Asia

For Dutch express company TNT, the roadmap for tapping the dynamic growth of China and the Southeast Asian region, quite literally points to the road. A new Asian strategy based on an integrated road and air network is already paying early dividends. Donald Urquhart reports.

Unlike many of its global competitors that remain largely focused on air networks with limited domestic ground operations, TNT took the bold step nearly two years ago to do something quite unheard of in Asia by creating a transnational road network nearly 4,000 km long connecting 120 cities in six countries from Singaporeto China.

The final pieces of this ambitious puzzle, which was created to augment its existing air network, are nearly in place with the recent linking of Vietnam into the network,to be followed by China later this year.

"TNT excels in developing, setting up and managing road networks," said TNT Southeast Asia MD, Onno Boots in reference to the express carriers’ European road network, the largest and most dense onthe continent.

"We started about two years ago here in Asia setting up the initial tracks for the road network running out of Singapore into Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur and Penang- and onto Bangkok."

This was then extended through Laos, into Danang in Vietnam, connecting to Ho Chi Minh City and then Hanoi and soon up to the Chinese cities of Kunming andGuangzhou.

"Basically it stretches the road network all the way from Singapore up to Chinaand that feeds into our domestic network in China," Boots said.