EXPRESS transportation company FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has introduced a new flight service connecting Vietnam to the Philippines, aiming to expedite shipment transit and support e-commerce growth.

It will now take one business day for Southern Vietnam exports to reach the Philippines and major Asian markets, the company said in an e-mailed statement to reporters on Monday.

“Local businesses serving international customers may gain a competitive advantage with expedited delivery times,” said Maribeth Espinosa, managing director at FedEx Express Philippines.

“The improved transit time from Vietnam to the Philippines will support the growth in trade volumes between both markets,” she said.

“Combined with the projected revenue growth of e-commerce in Southeast Asia, the role of logistics in enabling intra-Asia trade becomes even more pronounced,” she added on enabling access to more import and export opportunities.

FedEx Express noted that deliveries taking too long were the number one consumer pain point for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), followed by handling returns, according to a study it commissioned last year.

It said consumers typically expected delivery within three days to one week. “There is a desire for delivery to be at least more reliable if not faster.”

However, it also noted how SMEs in India, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam were among the most optimistic about their future e-commerce growth in the next three years.

Trade between the Philippines and Vietnam increased by 14.7% last year, reaching $7.8 billion in revenues, the Philippine News Agency said in July.

“We anticipate increased investments within the world’s largest free trade area, stimulating economic growth in Southeast Asia,” Ms. Espinosa said on the new FedEx service alongside the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The Senate ratified the RCEP in June, which is billed as the world’s biggest free trade agreement (FTA). This involves a third of the global economy as the participating countries include the members of ASEAN, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.

RCEP-participating countries are expected to have increased trade among participants as the FTA allows a liberal, facilitative, and competitive investment environment, especially in terms of quantity, tariffs, and import taxes.

“The new flight will use a dedicated B767 freighter flying four evenings a week from Ho Chi Minh connecting Asia and Europe through the FedEx Asia Pacific Hub in Guangzhou, China,” FedEx Express noted.

The company now offers nine weekly flights departing from Vietnam to Asia, Europe, and the United States. — Miguel Hanz L. Antivola