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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Filipino-owned logistics company

BY GENIVI FACTAO
Logistic company Airspeed International yesterday said it is extending its reach to Vietnam and Cambodia to take advantage of the growth of intra-Asia trade.

Rosemarie Rafael, president of Airspeed International, said its expansion to Vietnam and Cambodia was prompted by the transfer of many garments manufacturers to these two countries.

Airspeed is a privately-owned Filipino company engaged in air and sea freight forwarding (inbound and outbound Manila) as well as international door-to-door parcel and cargo service, and customs brokerage.

It handles shipment of garments, perishables and tropical fish, handicraft, electronics and pharmaceuticals. Garments account for 30 to 40 percent of shipments handled while pharmaceuticals account for roughly the same volume.

Most of the garments are shipped to United States and Middle East countries while the destination for pharmaceuticals is Singapore. Exports of tuna, mangoes and okra go to Japan.

In 2009, the company handled $3.61 million worth of air cargo business, against $4.21 million in 2008, because of the economic crisis.

"Coming from a very low level (of revenues) in 2009, we expect a 100 percent increase this year, but in 2011 the growth will be about 20-30 percent," said Mariz Regis, vice president and general manager.

No data was available as to how much was shipped using ocean freight, which is the fast growing revenue generator with 60 percent, compared to airfreight with 40 percent.

She said the growth in the company’s revenues will be driven by the expansion in Vietnam and Cambodia. Sea freight will also lead the growth with the inflow of oversized cargo deliveries.

On the domestic front, Airspeed already covers the entire country, providing logistic service even to remote areas.

"We deliver a variety of products. We even had cargoes drawn by carabao to reach clients in mountainous areas. We always think of service innovations to address our customer’s need," Regis said.

She added that the also deliver lechon from Cebu. And on time to preserve the freshness of the product.

Airspeed use different airlines, including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Delta Airline, China airline, Asiana, Korean Air, Emirates, Etihad, Gulf Air and United Airlines.

It uses the Lorenzo Shipping and some ro-ro ships for domestic deliveries. The company has a fleet of more than 20 trucks.

Airspeed has been consistently ranked among the top 10 in the forwarding category by the International Air Transport Association.

"We are proud that a Filipino-owned company is in the elite company of such industry giants in the logistics industry. We will continue to strive and do better by continuously providing price-competitive rates and delivering world-class service to clients. In this way, businesses will find us to be good partners as we understand their needs and offer them the best possible rates," Rafael said.

Airspeed marks it 25th year in service on December 2.

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Cambodia holds day of mourning for stampede victims

Cambodia is holding a day of mourning for more than 450 people killed in a festival stampede.

Prime Minister Hun Sen is due to join officials and grieving relatives for a religious ceremony at the footbridge where the tragedy happened.

A preliminary investigation has found that the swaying of the bridge near the capital, Phnom Penh, triggered a panic.

Witnesses said some people were crushed on the bridge, while others fell into the river and drowned.

Crowds of revellers had been crossing the bridge to reach an island where an annual water festival was being held on Monday.

A committee set up to investigate the disaster found that many of the people on the suspension bridge were from the countryside and were unaware that such structures often swayed, local media reported.

Between 7,000 and 8,000 are thought to have been on the bridge at the time.

Cremations

"Some started screaming that the bridge was collapsing, that people were getting electric shocks and that the iron cables were snapping, so the people pushed each other and fell down and the stampede happened," said Prum Sokha, heading the panel of inquiry.

The first funerals and cremations took place across the country on Wednesday.

Mr Hun Sen said a memorial would be built "to commemorate the souls of the people who lost their lives in the incident... and to remember the serious tragedy for the nation and the Cambodian people".

But many relatives say they want answers.

"I feel very sad and angry about what happened," said Phea Channara at a funeral service for his 24-year-old sister near Phnom Penh.

"I wonder if the police really did their job. Why did they allow it to happen?"

Mr Hun Sen has described the stampede as the country's biggest tragedy since the Khmer Rouge era in the 1970s, which left an estimated 1.7 million people dead.
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