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SEATTLE -- March 12, 1996
When Airborne Express initiates a joint venture agreement with its South African business partner Ribbon Technologies today, the multinational air freight and express company commits itself to a new chapter in the international history books.

The end of apartheid and subsequent end to the international boycott, along with changes in government have created a strong demand for imported goods. In fact, according to the Investor Responsibility Research Center in Washington, D.C., U.S. companies are reinvesting in South Africa at a rate of four a month.

"The number of U.S. companies with direct investments in South Africa is reaching the same level we saw prior to the installation of trade sanctions during the early '80s," said Airborne Vice President of Europe, South Africa and the Middle East John Birds. "Today, business leaders are returning to the united democracy, seeing tremendous growth potential Airborne Express is just one company who hopes to benefit from that growth."

"Because we are now a part of Airborne's international team, we can offer our customers the same sophisticated resources, tools and technologies Airborne makes available to its business customers throughout the world," said Konrad Peter of Ribbon Technologies.

Customers shipping to and from South Africa will have full access to Airborne's FOCUS communications system (Freight On-line Control and Update System), which provides worldwide, on-line, real-time computer tracking and tracing. This service is invaluable to importers and exporters who need to know where their shipments are at any given time for duty and insurance purposes.

"The joint venture is particularly exciting as the Mandela Administration continues to modify the country's historic high import tariffs that were imposed during the apartheid era," said Birds. "Current statistics show that 14 percent of the country's imports are goods and services from the U.S."

Airborne Express South Africa will operate fully staffed offices in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Satellite offices will open in Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein in 6-12 months.

Operations support teams will be available in every office to help expedite inbound and outbound courier service, freight forwarding and customer brokerage services. Airborne South Africa will continue to concentrate on providing strategic solutions to our customers' international business logistics needs.

Airborne Express offers international express, international freight and ocean services to and from South Africa. Currently, the bulk of business coming from South Africa is generated by electronic and pharmaceutical industries. Airborne Express already serves customers like IBM and NIKE in that region.

"Additionally, the new joint venture will afford greater emphasis on growing our outbound traffic in the near future," said Peter. The South Africa staff of 28 is headed up by Mr. Peter, a South Africa native with more than 17 years industry experience.

Airborne Express, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 1996, is the third-largest and fastest-growing domestic air express delivery carrier in the nation. AIrborne offers customized solutions to fit the needs of businesses worldwide, including same-day, overnight express, next afternoon, second day, international express and freight, logistics, warehousing and ocean services.


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