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  July- Sep 2008         
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For anyone doing business in Southeast Asia today, these are exciting times. There is now a renewed buzz in the air, especially when the 10-nation Asean is determined more than ever to move towards the single market, breaking all the barriers of taxes, red tapes, etc and building bridges to bring together the diverse members together.
As the global business centre of gravity has begun to shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, with the re-emergence of China and India as regional economic powerhouses, the business mood in Asean has turned upbeat.

Assuming that the current political turbulence in a few member countries will soon be over, and the much-awaited Asean Charter is fully ratified by the end of 2008, Asean should be back on the strong and steady growth track.

Spanning the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Asean as a region is well-poised to ride on the income booms at home and in neighbouring China and India, the rising economic powers.
Hence Asean’s increasing importance as a logistics centre – a region connecting major economies like the US, Japan, China and India. As logistics holds the key to any trade and business expansion in today's globalised economy, AseanAffairs finds it most appropriate to obtain the insights from two of the most aggressive logistics and express delivery service players in the region. Those are the global players and the interviews that follow reveal whether they have made the right move by raising their stakes in the region.  

Staying Positive in Asean
Interview with Roy Tan, CEVA Thailand's Country Manager Freight

Q: It’s been more than a year since CEVA Logistics (Thailand) started business here in the kingdom. How’s CEVA the brand doing?
A: The CEVA brand has been successfully launched in Thailand using a mix of public relations and marketing activities. The merger of CEVA Logistics and Eagle Global Logistics (EGL) in 2007 produced another boost for our brand awareness, and synergies between the two operations have delivered great results to our customers. CEVA has announced that its airfreight growth in Thailand of 26 percent is up from the previous year, propelling it to the number one position in Thailand in the IATA ranking for 2007. In the first quarter of 2008, CEVA reported global revenue of €1.501 billion, both the Contract Logistics and the Freight Management divisions performed in line with expectations. At 2007 exchange rates, revenues were up by 8 percent over the first quarter of the previous year on a pro-forma basis. Overall, there is plenty of potential and progress for CEVA and its customers to be excited about.
Q: CEVA claims to be the world’s largest ‘pure play’ contracted logistics company. What are the challenges the company has to overcome in building its brand in Asean i.e. Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia?
A: Asia is one of the key markets for CEVA and also one of the fastest growing. As with all industries, it’s highly competitive and therefore our brand needs to stand out. We have developed communications programmers throughout our key markets to ensure we obtain our share of voice with our audiences.
Q: Can you call it ‘a right move’ setting up CEVA Logistics (Thailand), why?
A: CEVA Logistics was initially formed (as TNT Logistics) in 1995.  Since then we have built a portfolio of 58 large-scale, long-term contract relationships. In addition, we have several hundred freight management customers who we regularly trade with offering customs clearance, air freight and sea freight services. CEVA is now recognised as the premier contract logistics provider in the automotive, telecom and technology sectors, number one operator of air freight export revenues in 2007. This was definitely the “right move”. 
Q: Please share your experience in building up airfreight growth in Thailand. What are the strengths that made CEVA top IATA’s list in airfreight?

When the Truck Becomes an Aircraft
Interview with Alan Mau, Country Manager, TNT (Thailand)

Q: What role does TNT Thailand play in the parent company’s drive for leadership position in Asia?

A: We have positioned ourselves very strategically at an advantageous point. First, Thailand is at the heart of Indo China which gives us an advantage. Second, we’re riding on the fact that we have built our own Asia-road network which we run ourselves. TNT Asia road network is unique. It is an express integrated network, in which we treat a truck like an aircraft – same as we have been treating the planes in the past - on schedule and everything. Third, we can move on the air-road network. For instance, we can facilitate movement from Cambodia by truck to Thailand and air lift to China, we can truck down to Singapore and air lift by our own 747 from there to Europe-this air-road combination is something we can offer to our customers. TNT is the only one express service provider offering this air-road combination to the customer and that’s our advantage.

Q: What are the key sectors that TNT (Thailand) focuses on?

A: We provides delivery services - to and from Thailand and Europe, to and from Thailand to Asia (Asean and Japan, etc) and Thailand to China. These are the three sectors we are focusing on.

Q: What are the near-term growth prospects for TNT (Thailand), and what will be the drivers of this growth?

A: The growth I anticipate this year and beyond will be 30 percent. I’m in fact getting some headwinds whether it will be 30 percent or not due to the factors such as fuel costs, price etc. The drivers will be the Asia Road network and the new features of service we’ve just embarked on-Express Freight, Heavy freight. TNT is no longer a courier company. That was the perception 10 years ago. In fact the documents delivery business is a small part of our business.

Q: What impact do you have from the political uncertainty in Thailand? Read the Complete Article Subscribe to ASEANAFFAIRS Magazine

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