*FedEx, NextLinx Form Alliance on International Shipping

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FedEx Corp., Memphis, TN, and its subsidiary, FedEx Trade Networks Inc., have formed a strategic alliance with NextLinx Corp., Silver Spring, MD, a global trade management solutions provider, to market and sell Web-based tools and services designed to simplify international shipping for importers and exporters, FedEx announced yesterday.

The alliance includes an equity investment by FedEx Corp. and a special licensing agreement with FTN. FedEx will also have a seat on the NextLinx board of directors. Investment details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The trade facilitation tools and services, which will be marketed under the FedEx-NextLinx alliance, will allow customers to easily determine and comply with international shipping requirements such as classification, documentation, license requirements, duties and taxes, landed cost and other information, according to FedEx. In addition, these tools and services will be part of a larger body of data and technology, which FTN will release in the spring.

"The mission of FedEx Trade Networks is to provide automated Web-based solutions and tools that help customers navigate through the complex maze of global customs and regulatory schemes," said G. Edmond Clark, president/CEO of FTN. "Businesses are increasingly looking for new ways to expedite and simplify the movement of goods across borders and throughout the entire supply chain -- from sourcing to selling. By joining forces, FedEx and NextLinx will be able to offer the most robust solutions in the industry."

A recent report by Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA, found that 85 percent of e-commerce firms cannot fill international orders because of the complexities of shipping across borders. Yet according to McKinsey & Co., 80 percent of manufactured goods will be sold across international borders by 2020, compared with about 20 percent today. These trends point to the need for simpler and more efficient international trade facilitation tools, according to FedEx.

In addition to automated trade facilitation solutions, information from a NextLinx database called Global Knowledge will be available to merge with the database of World Tariff Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of FTN. This will create a comprehensive offering of duty, tax and preferences information.

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