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Carriers form air alliance
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Six Chinese carriers joined forces yesterday to create the nation's first air logistics alliance.


The new group - SAL Logistics Enterprises Alliance - comprises majority shareholder Shanghai Airlines (SAL) Co Ltd, China United Airlines Co Ltd, SAL Cargo International Co Ltd, SAL International Cargo Services Co Ltd, Shanghai Crane Transportation Co Ltd and Dahang International Transportation Co Ltd.


An SAL source said the group is part of the company's strategy to tackle increasing competition in the industry.


The world's four express delivery giants - DHL, UPS, TNT and FedEx - are all vying for a slice of Shanghai's market.


DHL launched a North Asia hub project at Pudong International Airport in November 2007, after UPS established its Asia transfer center at the airport.


By the end of last year, Pudong airport had an annual handling capacity of 2.5 million tons of cargo and mail, which is expected to rise to 7 million tons in 2015, according to sources with the airport authority.


"The alliance opens a new chapter in the history of China's air logistics industry," said SAL Chairman Zhou Chi.


The alliance is trying to position itself alongside the city's developing logistics sector, which is a crucial part of its push to be a service industry hub, said Zhou.


The alliance owns about 70 passenger and freight airplanes that fly about 30 international and regional routes and 170 domestic ones.


Its network covers more than 60 medium-sized and large cities at home and abroad. In 2010, it will own 100 airplanes.


"We will fully develop the advantages of specialization and cooperation between all the member companies," said Liu Hele, executive president of the alliance's management committee.


Liu said the alliance will establish a unified system to discover the potential advantages and integrate the effects of the current logistics companies.


(China Daily January 22, 2008)


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