Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Air Cargo Handlers Train for Safer Freight Whilst Tonnages Improve

HACTL Praised by IATA as New Facility Opens
Shipping News Feature

HONG KONG – The carriage of air freight can be a complicated affair and to increase the level of competency and the qualification of air cargo practitioners in the industry, the IATA Training and Development Institute (ITDI) has developed an IATA International Cargo Training Program, which incorporates distance learning and e-learning modules for students wishing to upgrade their professional competence or start a career in the industry. Now Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) which handles freight at the world’s largest air cargo hub has set up the first IATA Authorised Training Centre (ATC) for cargo in Hong Kong.

The Hactl ATC, which will go live in the second half of 2012, will provide a wide range of IATA training courses covering subjects such as dangerous goods, live animals, infectious substances and perishables. The ATC will deploy Hactl’s large existing training centre, it was here Hactl staff and its customers were recently trained in the use of the new COSAC+ IT system introduced by Hactl in late 2011. Yvonne Ho, IATA’s General Manager for Hong Kong commented:

“We are delighted to welcome Hactl to our ATC network. They complement our coverage by providing a local training base at the world’s largest cargo hub, and their distinguished history of staff training and adoption of best practice means they are the ideal partner to promote IATA’s training programme.”

Hactl’s ATC will be headed by Simon Yap, in his new position as Manager of Operation Training Services. Simon has spent around 25 years in air cargo, mostly in cargo training; he has worked for Hactl since 1997. Mr Yap said:

“Hactl has a long and solid reputation for training. We have trained thousands of airline and forwarding staff in the use of the community IT system which we introduced in the late 70s, and have also conducted airline staff training at various customer locations around the world. “The establishment of this first cargo ATC in Hong Kong is a logical extension to our activities, and places us even more firmly at the heart of the Hong Kong air cargo community. We are very honoured that IATA has chosen Hactl as its first ATC partner in Hong Kong, complementing its training network throughout the Asia Pacific Region.”

Cargo throughput at Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) showed a strong recovery in both exports and transhipment traffic in the first quarter of 2012. In the period Hactl handled a total of 633,935 tonnes: just 2.5% down on the same period of 2011, which was to prove the final quarter of the post-recession boom. The quarter’s top export market was Europe, at 27.9% of the total; imports were led by South East Asia at 40.4% of the total; the region also dominated transhipment traffic, with 42.5% of the total. Lilian Chan, Executive Director of Hactl remarked:

“We have progressively closed the gap which opened up during 2011, when we experienced a fall to as much as 12% below the previous year’s strong performance, in May 2011. The anomaly created by the different dates of the Chinese New Year in 2011 and 2012 has now worked its way through, so comparisons are more meaningful again. But what is not yet clear is whether the rest of 2012 will track the trends of 2011 again, or whether our first quarter recovery is a sign that we are now gradually returning to 2010 traffic levels, and underlying growth.

“We remain hopeful but cautious. Important markets in Europe and the USA are still unsettled. We continue to support our customer carriers with heavy investment and rigorous quality controls, and we hope these are factors in the improved market shares shown by some. But global trade is bigger than all of us, and generally defies accurate prediction.”