Anticipating peak volumes during the holiday season, FedEx has increased the number of weekly flights in and out of Asia Pacific, particularly the Asia-Europe route and flights into Australia from Asia.
Culprit for the massive demand is none other than the rapid growth of e-commerce, with online sales from 11 countries in Asia Pacific predicted to reach $2.5 trillion in 2024.
FedEx cited McKinsey data saying Asia has been in the forefront of using online channels as the pandemic has sped up the adoption of digital customer interactions. Some of the digital or digitally enhanced offerings we are seeing now in the region should have been available 10 years from now.
Calling the peak season as a “shipathon,” Kawal Preet, president for AMEA at FedEx, said the company is helping SMEs ensure their shipping and delivery needs are met and business continues to flow during one of the busiest times of the year.
“The growing importance of e-commerce means that SMEs can now move beyond local or domestic demand to reach new regional and international customers, growing revenue without the investment costs related to opening brick-and-mortar storefronts,” Preet explained.
“This is where the real acceleration of business recovery can happen, and we’re actively working with merchants and small businesses to ensure they’re ready and have the right tools to give their customers more control over their deliveries,” she added.
With much of the air cargo community focused on prioritising vaccine shipments that could bump off online orders, this “shipathon” would definitely be an “endurance race” to the shippers and the integrators that are servicing e-commerce freight and parcels.
To support small businesses, FedEx is urging consumers to shop and ship ahead of the holidays to avoid costly delays. Its forecasting double the normal daily volume for the three Mondays between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, at 26 million per day.
In Asia Pacific, the express operator has close to 30,000 employees, over 650 aircraft and 160,000 vehicles to ensure transport and delivery, as well as regional hubs in Guangzhou, Osaka, Shanghai and Singapore.
Last week FedEx purchased e-commerce platform ShopRunner to expand its e-commerce capabilities. The platform connects 100 of its partner brands and merchants with online shoppers, offering members free two-day shipping, free returns, and exclusive discounts.