April 12, 2007 1:30 PM, EDT

UPS Signs China Air Pact

TT File Photo

UPS Inc. and the Shanghai, China, Airport Authority signed an agreement Thursday that is a step toward construction of an air hub at the Shanghai airport.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters attended the signing, which was also attended by Chinese officials.

The UPS International Air Hub, scheduled to open next year, will be the first constructed by a U.S. carrier and will link all of China via Shanghai to UPS’ international network with direct service to the Americas, Europe and Asia, the company said in a statement.

It will connect points served in China by UPS through a dedicated service provided by Yangtze River Express, a Chinese cargo airline.

These agreements are a direct result of the Agreement on Sino-U.S. Civil Aviation Transportation Air Services signed by the Chinese and U.S. governments in July 2004.

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