DHL jockeys for pharma logistics biz in China

DHL has landed in Beijing. In a restless carrier/logistics sector clamoring for pharma's business, DHL has launched a Life Sciences and Healthcare Competence Center in the Chinese capital.*

It's DHL's second center in China. The carrier says in an announcement it conducted research projecting China will become the world's 5th largest pharmaceutical exporter, mainly in APIs.

DHL's drugmaker customers are shifting away from conventional contract logistics services towards an integrated logistics network, the company adds. "Customers are increasingly looking for an integrated logistics network and their requirements are moving more and more beyond conventional contract logistics services," says Angelos Orfanos, president and global head of life sciences, in the announcement.

DHL is hardly alone in that thinking.  UPS ($UPS) and Fed Ex ($FDX) are following similar strategies, while airlines and airports are beginning to roll out the cold chain and other specialized gear. New technology and supply chain model announcements appear regularly, with the logistics balance tilting toward the service providers. Examples include Merck ($MRK) and UPS, as well as DHL unit Exel in separate relationships with Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and Pfizer ($PFE).

- here's the release

* Editor's Note: The article originally incorrectly stated DHL had invested $75 million in the center. We apologize for any confusion.