Despite the current volatility of the economic climate, United Parcel Service Inc., the world’s largest package delivery company, will actively expand operations in Japan, according to the head of UPS Asia Pacific Region.

Although the domestic economy has been in the doldrums for some 10 years, Kenneth Torok, president of UPS Asia Pacific Region, believes it will rebound.

He also said UPS sees greater business opportunities at a time when many companies are busy cutting their distribution costs and are increasingly outsourcing inventory and warehousing management.

“Yes, the economy is down, but it is also an opportunity for us to demonstrate to our customers in Japan that we can help them operate in the slowing economy efficiently,” Torok said during a recent interview in Tokyo.

“Japan is a very important market in our overall Asian strategy . . . and we want to expand our brand here through expanding our operations.”

The firm’s business volume saw a year-on-year rise of more than 10 percent in Asia in the first quarter of this year, led by growth in China and Hong Kong.

The company, also a major provider of logistic services, recorded growth of more than 10 percent in Japan during the same period, according to UPS.

The growth here can be attributed to rising corporate demand for express collection and delivery of freight on a door-to-door basis, a UPS spokeswoman said.

Specifically, Torok unveiled plans to expand his company’s distribution zone beyond Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama.

This service will be extended to Nagoya, Kobe, Chiba, Kyoto and the Tama area of western Tokyo in 2003, he said.

The firm has completed more than 20 acquisitions worldwide to create a seamless supply chain network, which consists of three flows of commerce. These are the distribution of goods, the tracking of delivery and billing information, and the conducting of financial transactions between buyer and seller through e-payments.

UPS is now fully able to help its customers concentrate on their core business, he said.

The company is stepping up efforts to tap into the 3 trillion yen global market for logistic and supply chain management, according to UPS.

To this end, UPS has recently changed its corporate logo for the first time in some 40 years — removing the bow-tied parcel from the shield-shaped UPS logo.

“We’re no longer simply a package delivery company . . . It (the rebranding) represents evolution (at UPS),” Torok said.

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