August 27, 1998 12:00 AM, EDT

UPS Expands Asian Capacity Through Philippines Hub

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PS Inc. said it tripled the capacity of its Philippines sorting center to improve service in Asian markets such as China and Japan.

The expansion, begun last year and finished Monday, lets the center process 7,500 packages an hour, UPS said in a statement.

The project cost $1.4 million, a spokeswoman told Bloomberg. The three-year-old facility in Pampanga at the former Clark Air Force Base is the company's biggest Asia-Pacific air hub.

On Friday, the Department of Transportation approved new cargo flights to China for UPS and several other air cargo carriers.

UPS's fourth-quarter package shipments from the Philippines rose almost 30 percent, including computers, other electronics and textiles. The company is carrying more shipments from cities across Asia through the Pampanga hub, Bloomberg reported.

“The strong growth in our Philippine operations is a clear indication of its importance to our businesses worldwide and in the region,” said David Abney, president of UPS International, in a statement.

Meanwhile the Independent Pilots Association said in a statement Monday that a survey of shippers showed almost half expected some kind of work stoppage with UPS and its pilots over labor issues.

UPS is ranked No. 1 on the Transport Topics 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.