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            september 21, 2019

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LKW Walter


Busworld 2019

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No signs of slowdown in air cargo demand in HK


Chief executive of Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd (Hactl), Wilson Kwong, who took the reigns at the cargo handler in December, says there is no sign of a slowdown in air cargo demand, despite fears of rising protectionist measures being implemented by various governments.
On a 12-month rolling basis demand is up by around 1 per cent, while if all new carriers and airlines that have moved on are stripped out, growth stands at around 4 per cent.
This final figure is roughly in line with Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), which during the first five months has seen cargo demand increase by 4.1 per cent year on year to two million tonnes.
He points out that Hactl's year-on-year comparisons are affected by the loss of Hong Kong Airlines. However, it has recently won contracts with Air Belgium, Western Global and YTO, as well as seeing the return of previous customer Eva Air.
"I am quite positive for this year, Mr Kwong says. "Although I do worry a little bit about a potential trade war.
"In university I studied economics and in economics everyone says that trade wars are not beneficial to anyone. It is a lose-lose game," he adds.
Mr Kwong identifies three particular challenges facing the company: the development of a third runway at HKIA, the emergence of e-commerce and the integration of Hong Kong into the Greater Bay Area, reports London's Air Cargo News.
The three-runway system, which will launch in 2024, will increase HKIA's cargo capacity from around 5 million tonnes each year to 9 million tonnes. He says that Hactl has the space and capability to be able to handle the extra demand that should come as a result of the new runway.
The handler's Super Terminal 1 (ST1) facility handled 1.8 million tonnes in 2017 and has a total capacity of 3.5 million tonnes.
On the topic of e-commerce, there is one recent development that certainly does present an opportunity for Hactl as it looks to build on the business it handles for Hong Kong Post, amongst others.
In June, Airport Authority Hong Kong awarded a tender to develop and manage a premium logistics centre to a joint venture led by Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group.
Other shareholders include China National Aviation Corporation and parcel airline YTO Express.
The centre, at Kwo Lo Wan in the South Cargo precinct of the airport, will be able to handle around 1.7 million tonnes of cargo per year, have a footprint of about 5.3 ha and an estimated gross floor area of 380,000 sq m, making it the third largest warehouse in Hong Kong.
The final opportunity outlined by Mr Kwong is the development of the Greater Bay Area, a government project which seeks to bring together Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in the Guangdong province.
Part of the project is the development of the Hong Kong-Zhuai-Macau Bridge (HZMB), which should open later this year.
The bridge will shorten transport time between Hong Kong airport and the western Pearl River Delta (PRD) by around two-thirds to 30-40 minutes.
The company has already made some moves to prepare for the opening of the bridge - its Hacis road feeder subsidiary has announced it will partner with Chu Kong Shipping (CKS) to develop a new inland cargo depot in the Zhuhai Free Trade Zone.
The depot will serve both Macau and Zhuhai and will bring the number of Hacis depots in the south of mainland China to nine.

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