UPS to Build Transport Hub in Shanghai

International courier UPS signed an agreement Thursday finalizing construction of a transport hub in the eastern city of Shanghai, linking China to its global network.

The hub, to open next year, will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, allowing for later pickup times in Shanghai, China's financial and commercial center, the company said.

Sorters will handle 17,000 packages an hour by 2012 with employment at the hub expected to exceed 1,000 people by 2010, it said. Capacity will be ramped up further by the use of Boeing 747-400 freighters instead of the smaller MC-11 jets currently in use.

"The UPS International Air Hub will connect China to international markets faster and more efficiently," Ken Torok, president of UPS Asia-Pacific, said at a signing ceremony.

The 1-million square foot hub is now under construction at the city's main Pudong International Airport, which is itself undergoing a major expansion to allow it to handle 60 million passengers and 4.2 million tons of cargo annually by the end of this year.

UPS took direct control of its China operations in 2005 and now serves 330 Chinese cities with 60 facilities and 4,500 employees.

Growth in China has been facilitated by a 2004 air services agreement between China and the U.S. that eliminated most limits on schedules and cities Chinese and U.S. carriers can serve in the two countries.

The Atlanta-based company, also known as United Parcel Service Inc., has invested $600 million in China over the past five years and claims to fly to more points in China than any other U.S. freight or passenger airline.

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