Airbus and the Chinese Tianjin free trade zone (TJFTZ) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build a logistics centre in Tianjin to optimise the supply chain management for all Airbus’s industrial cooperation projects in China.

The centre will manage the transportation of goods required for Airbus projects in China, and use the modern and efficient methods deployed by Airbus in Europe and the US to sustain the growth of its industrial activities in the country.

The project will be executed in three phases with Airbus and the TJFTZ jointly establishing the logistics and customs processes and other action necessary to launch the project in the first phase.

The facility will begin operations from a temporary location in the TJFTZ comprehensive bonded area in January 2010.

The first phase will allow simple logistics operations with XAIC for the wing-equipping project in Tianjin, and with Hafei for the manufacturing centre in Harbin.

In the second phase, Airbus, the TJFTZ and Tianjin customs will conduct a feasibility study on the implementation of the project and decide a permanent location for the centre.

In the last phase, due by March 2012, the unit will become fully operational and extend services to cover all Airbus industrial packages in China, including its final assembly line.

Airbus China president Laurence Barron said that there were many reasons why Airbus selected Tianjin as the location for its new logistics centre, including its geographic advantages as a major sea port, its proximity to several Airbus cooperation projects in China, FALC, and its excellent infrastructure.

Tianjin deputy party secretary He Lifeng said the establishment of the Airbus logistics centre will further promote the development of Tianjin as one of the country’s major aviation cities.