DHL Invests Millions in Fashion Competency Center, New Hong Kong Office

Despite the lagging economy and its own financial cuts earlier this year, DHL recently announced an investment of more than $100 million (HK) in Hong Kong.

The investments are for a new 120,000-square-foot DHL global forwarding (DGF) office at the Kowloon Commerce Centre (KCC), and the "DHL Fashion Competency Center," which is based in the KCC.

According to the company, the DHL Fashion Competency Center will develop bespoke logistics products and solutions, and house a core team of industry experts providing consultancy services to customers in the North Asia Pacific.

The initiatives reflect DHL's pronounced strategy to invest globally, outside of the United States (DHL eliminated its sizeable domestic pick up and delivery service in the United States in January), and also to expand its presence in the worldwide fashion industry. Earlier this year, DHL opened "Fashion Centers of Excellence" in India and Sri Lanka. In April, the company inaugurated a fashion-focused "DHL Leadership Dialogue Series" in Hong Kong, with participation from leading global fashion brands, and the company is also the official express delivery and logistics partner for IMG's Fashion Week events held throughout the world.

In making the investments, DHL cited Hong Kong's growing presence as a sourcing, merchandising and distribution hub in the fashion and apparel industry.

Hong Kong's total airfreight export for the fashion and apparel sector in 2008 was estimated at more than 130,000 tons while ocean freight export reportedly reached 270,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) last year. (Similar totals have been projected for 2009 in spite of the recession.)

According to DHL, the overall export of fashion and apparel goods from Hong Kong to the European Union countries totaled more than $10 billion in value in 2008, while close to $10 billion more in goods were shipped to the United States.

"We see tremendous opportunity in the coming years," said Hermann Ude, global CEO, DHL Global Forwarding. "Despite the economic slowdown, speed to market remains crucial for businesses to stay competitive."

DHL reports the new DGF office will employee 800 and includes state-of-the-art sustainable features in line with the company's green strategy to reduce its carbon footprint.

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