Huawei reviews relationship with FedEx after packages ‘diverted’
Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei is reviewing its relationship with FedEx Corp, claiming that the package-delivery company inexplicably diverted two parcels destined for Huawei addresses in Asia to the United States and also attempted to reroute two others.
Huawei told the Reuters news agency on Friday that FedEx had actually diverted two packages from suppliers – sent from Japan and addressed to Huawei in China – to the US.
The company added that FedEx had also attempted to divert two other packages sent from Vietnam to Huawei offices elsewhere in Asia.
All of the delivery diversions were reportedly done without authorisation. Reuters said it could not independently verify the authenticity of the tracking records provided by Huawei.
The two packages sent on May 19 and May 20 from Tokyo, intended for Huawei in China, ended up in Memphis, Tennessee, the headquarters of the US-based FedEx, by May 23.
According to Huawei, the four packages contained urgent documents but “no technology”.
Huawei declined to explain why it thought the packages were diverted, and so it is unclear whether the incidents are related to the US government’s move to place Huawei and its affiliates on a trade blacklist in mid-May, effectively banning US firms from doing business with them on security grounds.
“The recent experiences where important commercial documents sent via FedEx were not delivered to their destination, and instead were either diverted to, or were requested to be diverted to, FedEx in the United States, undermines our confidence,” Joe Kelly, a spokesman for Huawei, told Reuters.
“We will now have to review our logistics and document delivery support requirements as a direct result of these incidents,” the spokesman said.
The two packages originating from Hanoi on May 17, destined for Huawei’s Hong Kong and Singapore offices, were held up after arriving in local FedEx stations in Hong Kong and Singapore on May 21 for “delivery exception” – a possible customs delay or a holiday.
According to Huawei, a FedEx customer service representative in Vietnam replied to their inquiry on May 22 when two expected packages did not arrive on time, saying: “Please be informed that FDX SG received notification from FDX US to hold and return the package to US. Hence, the shipment is not deliver to consignee and now being hold at FDX station and under process to RTS it [return to sender]”, the representative wrote.
Huawei told Reuters that both Vietnam packages were sent by its shipping agent, a contractor that Huawei did not identify. It said the shipping agent refused permission for FedEx to send the packages to the US and instructed they be returned.
‘Misrouted in error’
Huawei acknowledged that one package originating in Vietnam was received by Friday, and the other was on its way, according to FedEx tracking records provided by Huawei.
FedEx spokeswoman Maury Donahue told Reuters the packages were “misrouted in error” and that FedEx was not requested to divert them by any other party.
“This is an isolated issue limited to a very small number of packages,” said FedEx, referring to the four parcels affected. “We are aware of all shipments at issue and are working directly with our customers to return the packages to their possession.”
The US Department of Commerce did not reply to a request for comment on whether the incident might be related to its move on May 16 to add Huawei to the so-called “Entity List”, preventing it from buying certain items from American companies without US government approval.
Huawei said it has lodged a formal complaint with China’s postal regulator, which it said is investigating the incident. China’s State Post Bureau did not return a request for comment.
The US says Huawei, the world’s largest telecom network gear maker – creating the next generation of wireless networks known as 5G – is a potential national security threat because of its close ties with the Chinese government.
Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services.