Mon, Jul 12, 2004 - Page 11 News List

These companies deliver the goods, one at a time

RACE AGAINST TIME Taiwan has a new industry that is growing quickly: parcel delivery services. Now, two firms are giving Chunghwa Post a run for its money

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Takkyubin deliveryman is reflected in the window of his delivery vehicle as he makes his rounds.

PHOTO: JACKIE LIN, TAIPEI TIMES

At 7am in Taipei City's Nankang District, Chang Shang-hsian (張尚賢) and his colleagues are loading their vans with parcels and packages that have just been transported from a major distribution center in Linkou, Taoyuan County.

After sorting out their delivery sheets and placing them in the order of their route, these "sales-drivers" join the early morning heavy traffic heading toward downtown Taipei, where some companies and households are awaiting the packages to be delivered to their doorstep.

"We are always racing with time," Chang, 25, said. He is a two-year veteran at President Transnet Corp (統一速達), which manages the Japanese home-delivery service Takkyubin (宅急便) in Taiwan.

On an average day, Chang has to deliver 70 to 80 packages per morning, and the number always soars above 100 during holidays such as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, the Lunar New Year, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

"We are called `SD,' or `sales-drivers,' because we are also responsible for developing business," Chang said as he jumped onto the driver's seat.

With 808 Takkyubin vans running around the nation each day, the market for delivery services, or chai pei (宅配) in Mandarin, has been expanding since President Transnet and its major competitor Taiwan Pelican Express Co (台灣宅配通) ushered the business from Japan to Taiwan in 2000.

In addition to normal package and letter deliveries, President Transnet -- a subsidiary of President Chain Store Corp (統一超商), which runs 7-Eleven outlets -- also offers low-temperature and frozen transport facilities, which makes deliveries of seafood, fruits and meat possible.

"In the past few weeks we have transported many boxes of lychees from central and southern Taiwan to the north," Chang said, as he unloaded two cartons of the seasonal fruit from the refrigerator installed in the van.

President Transnet focuses mostly on C2C (customer-to-customer) transactions, which account for over 50 percent of its business, while Taiwan Pelican's business is comprised of 80 percent B2C (business to customer) transactions and 20 percent C2C transactions.

Taiwan Pelican's marketing manager, Ann Chien (簡欣欣), said C2C relies heavily on an expanded network of retail channels, especially convenience stores, and "we do not have this edge, compared with President Transnet." Hence the different market positions of the two companies, she said.

President Transnet has more than 15,000 locations where customers can consign packages to the more than 3,500 7-Eleven outlets that have helped it secure advantages in the growing market.

The trademark of the Takkyubin service -- flags featuring two black cats -- can also be seen in the nation's Niko Mart (福客多) and OK Mart convenience stores, cosmetics retailer Cosmed (康是美), hypermarket operator Carrefour and home furnishings store Working House (生活工場).

Taiwan Pelican -- with a white pelican logo -- has also expanded its network of pick-up sites to 14,000 locations nationwide, with a fleet of 600 vans and motorbikes.

A joint venture between Taiwan's Teco Electric and Machinery Co (東元電機) and Japan's Nippon Express, Taiwan Pelican started offering delivery services in July 2000, three months before the "black cats" were running on Taiwan's streets.

Chien said that as the sector has developed in the nation for four years, it is believed that there is more potential to be tapped.

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