UPS looks to the future with major Asia investments

Fresh from a year of significant investments in the region, UPS is set to continue investing, albeit at a more moderate pace as it not only rides out the current global economic downturn, but readies itself for the rebound.

In an interview with Payload Asia, UPS Asia Pacific president Derek Woodward noted the company had ridden out serious global calamitiesbefore and would again this time.

“We’ve been in this business for 101 years and we’ve weathered depressions, wars and everything else, so we think we’re in good shape and when things rebound back we want to be in a position to take advantage of as many of the opportunities as possible,” he said.

But this time is clearly different, not just for UPS, but the entire global economy. UPS’ recent full-year results pretty much tell the story. While reporting a full-year 2008 net profit of US$3 billion, the figure was more than halved from a year earlier, where UPS posted a net profit of US$6.55 million (before a one-time US$6.1 billion pension payment is taken into account).

But as difficult as 2008 was, UPS’ business in the Asia Pacific region still performed well.

“We were so pleased with our results for 4th quarter 2008,” says Woodward. Export volume out of India grew at 25 per cent and China still turned in a healthy 10 per cent growth for UPS, while over-allthe region grew at 5 per cent.

“So from a growth perspective we are still satisfied with that, obviously it’s been a difficult year on the express side, with growth especially into the US has been declining,” he added.