The week that was: 8 July 2011

SingPost eyes up China’s online market, GLS expands into Croatia and Serbia, and a number of managerial changes throughout the sector… Hello news fans. The weekend is here, and therefore the time is upon us to have a look back over the last seven days.

This week Singapore Post signalled its intent to exploit China’s booming e-commerce market by acquiring a 20% stake in Shenzhen 4PX Express, a cross-border online delivery firm. The deal – announced Tuesday – sees SingPost invest in the firm through its wholly-owned subsidiary Quantium Solutions International (QSI) for RMB 60m ($12m). SingPost’s CEO for postal and corporate services, Ng Hin Lee, said the acquisition will give the company a “platform for entry into the outbound logistics and the high-growth e-commerce market in China, and globally, especially into USA, UK and Australia where 4PX has set up operations.” Shenzhen 4PX Express (4PX) provides international express delivery and international freight forwarding services, as well as import and export solutions. The company offers a “full suite of services relating to e-procurement, warehouse management, inventory management, order fulfillment and processing, and express delivery to support cross-border e-commerce transactions from China to the rest of the world (mainly USA, Europe and Japan)”. 4PX is also a global distribution partner for eBay and PayPal in China. Ng is overseeing the SingPost’s strategic acquisition portfolio. He continued: “We are pursuing growth in regional logistics and e-commerce, both of which offer tremendous potential in the new globally connected marketplace. The investment will allow us to further enhance and broaden our presence and network in the Asia Pacific region. It certainly helps us in our drive to develop a more balanced revenue and earnings portfolio, both from the standpoints of growing non-mail revenue and increasing overseas contribution.”

In Europe, GLS Group added Croatia and Serbia to its parcel network after entering partnership agreements with two regional companies. The operator has confirmed it has formed strategic alliances with ZUMEx in Croatia, and AKS Express Kurir in Serbia. Both ZUMEx and AKS Express Kurir have been delivering parcels for GLS since April. As a part of the alliance, GLS has been offering deliveries for both companies across European destinations since June, as the partners branch out into international express services. CEO Rico Back said that the two partners provide “valuable building blocks” in order for GLS to expand its presence in the region. He added: “To ensure that the packets of our customers reach their destination reliably and quickly, we have chosen strong regional partners.” ZUMEx is one of the three largest express operators in Croatia, with five locations across the country, with plans in place to double that number within the near future. AKS Express Kurir is the market leader for express shipments in Serbia. Its network consists of 20 distribution centres and a major hub.

There has been a whole host of resignations and appointments across the industry this week. In France, La Poste’s deputy CEO and CFO Bernard Delpit announced he will be leaving the French operator this summer. Delpit will be joining Crédit Agricole as of 29 August 2011 as group finance director. He will replace Bertrand Badré, who will continue with his career outside the Crédit Agricole Group, after four years service during the financial crisis. The following day, United States Postal Service (USPS) said that Alan Kessler will leave the company’s Board of Governors. In a filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission, USPS said Kessler had tendered his resignation. He will leave at the end of the month. Kessler – a Democrat – was first appointed to the Board by President Clinton in 2000. In 2009, he was reappointed by President Obama. His term was due to finish in 2015. He served as chairman of the Board from January 2008 to January 2009, and as vice chairman from January 2005 to December 2007. The parcel sector has seen movement as well, with Mark Pell being appointed as the country general manager for TNT Express UAE. His focus will be to align the UAE to the regional opportunities and drive profitable revenue growth through the delivery of excellent service quality to a diverse client base. Lastly, UK postal operator Secured Mail has announced Paul Carvell as independent chairman. Carvell is currently executive vice president at Alexander Proudfoot, and has extensive experience in the logistics industry. As well as holding senior positions at Christian Salvesen, GE Capital and TDG, he was also CEO of UK Mail, where he took the company into the FTSE 250. Carvell said: “The senior management team is young, extremely focused and they do not miss a trick. Secured Mail is a fascinating business.”

And finally…

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