Airbus plans to set up a logistics centre in Tianjin to manage the transportation of goods to and from China that will be used in projects in the country.
The airframer has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TFTZ) to set up the centre in three phases.
In the first phase, the centre will start operation as early as January 2010 in a temporary location in the TFTZ. Simple logistics operations, such as those for the A320 wing equipping project in Tianjin, will be carried out.
A permanent location for the centre will be decided during the second phase, during which a team comprising Airbus, the TFTZ and Tianjin Customs will develop a feasbility study on the complete implementation of the project.
Airbus expects the permanent centre to be operational in March 2010. It will extend services to cover all Airbus projects in China, including the A320 final-assembly line in Tianjin.
Six Chinese aviation companies manufacture parts for Airbus aircraft, but because they are located in different cities, each supply chain is organised separately, says Airbus.
"As Airbus is expanding its industrial activities in China, a logistics centre will help us optimize the supply chain for all our projects in a more streamlined way, while reducing costs and increasing efficiency," says Airbus China president Laurence Barron.
He adds that Tianjin was chosen for its geographic advantages as a sea port, its proximity to several Airbus projects in China and its excellent infrastructure.