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  Shanghai - Star
Medical logistics take hold

Li Jian
page03  2006-3-24

TNT, one of the world's leading logistics and express-service providers, is expanding in China by establishing one of Asia's most sophisticated medical logistics facilities in Shanghai.

At a cost of 1 million euros, TNT's first dedicated Life Science National distribution Centre (NDC), situated in the Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, will enable health-care manufacturers to send products directly to distributors, hospitals and clinics in any province in China within 24 hours, said a top official from TNT Asia.

Bryan Chan, managing director of the company's express division, told China Daily Shanghai & Delta edition Wednesday that the first-of-its-kind facility in China offers
temperature-controlled warehousing, packaging services and the regulatory and customs expertise required by the pharmaceutics and diagnostics industries.

Chan said TNT China is planning to establish smaller distribution centres in other cities in China, including Beijing and Guangzhou, to perfect its supply chain.

TNT's move is seen by analysts as a step in one of its key strategies to compete with larger express and logistics multinational companies like DHL and Fedex in the rising Asia logistics market, especially in China.

Michael Drake, Express South East Asia's general manager, said in a statement Wednesday that medical services make the difference in the fiercely competitive Asian market and the medical distribution centre in Shanghai, which will complement TNT's regional distribution centre in Singapore, will help TNT expand its market shares.

Steve Stine, life sciences industry director for TNT Asia, echoed Drake and told China Daily Shanghai & Delta edition he was confident about the prospects of the medical logistics market in China and saw it as an opportunity for TNT to dominate that market in the coming years.

He said the increase of the aging population in the country and China's increasing adjustment of medical products import tariffs drives demand for logistics and express services.

China spends approximately US$8 billion a year on medical device and equipment imports, said a statement from the company yesterday.

"With demand rising by close to 15 per cent per year, China is set to become the eighth largest health-care market in the world by the end of this decade," Stine said, and added China was likely to move into fifth position when regulatory efforts get into force.
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