Friday, August 1, 2014

Air Cargo Handling Group Achieves Freight Tonnage Improvement and Gains Pharma Accreditation

Good News Keeps Coming in from Hactl
Shipping News Feature

HONG KONG – It’s all good news for Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl), the territory’s largest cargo handler, which earlier this month revealed an 11.5% growth in freight tonnage through its SuperTerminal 1 base in the first half of 2014, compared to the same period of 2013. Now the group has become the first handling facility at the airport to achieve Good Distribution Practices (GDP) accreditation, bringing it in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) quality assurance guidelines for the handling of pharmaceuticals.

Hactl remains Hong Kong’s largest cargo handler, catering for over 100 scheduled passenger and all-cargo airlines, and serving over a thousand forwarding agencies, operating as it does the airport’s largest cargo facility, with a design capacity of 3.5 million tonnes per annum. The second half results showed imports up 13.6% to 243,000+ tonnes, export growth of 8.8% (489,000+ tonnes) whilst transshipments were up a massive 34.2% against last year at a shade under 65,000 tonnes.

The growth comes following the absence of the bulk of Cathay Pacific traffic after the airline and former Hactl shareholder completed its 6-year project to take over handling of its cargo (except horses and dangerous goods) during 2013, Cathay related statistics having been removed from the 2013 figures.

With regard to the pharmaceutical sector Hactl has enhanced the temperature-controlled zones in its SuperTerminal 1 facility, to accommodate products requiring specific ranges and these are equipped with temperature mapping and monitored on a 24-hour basis whilst introducing a ‘Golden Route’ to ensure that all pharmaceutical cargo enjoys the fastest possible transit between the apron and the handling areas.

Hactl supervisors and corresponding managers have undergone professional GDP training on standards, operating procedures and quality issues. All pharmaceutical handling areas are now regularly cleaned and sanitised in accordance with GDP hygiene standards and Miranda Kwan, Deputy Director of Systems & Services Certification for SGS Hong Kong, which undertook Hactl’s GDP certification commented:

“We congratulate Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited on being certified by SGS for compliance with World Health Organisation Good Distribution Practices (GDP) for Pharmaceutical Products. Air cargo handling is an important activity in the supply-chain management of pharmaceutical products. We appreciate Hactl’s commitment to ensuring the quality and identity of pharmaceutical products during all aspects of the air cargo handling process.”

Hactl Chief Executive Mark Whitehead was obviously pleased by both the improvement in overall trade levels and the bestowing of the accreditation for a sector of trade which the company views as a major growth area. He said:

“When we parted company with Cathay Pacific in 2013, we expected a long uphill struggle to replace this significant element of our business. In reality, we have quickly made up a substantial proportion of the traffic through new account wins, and organic growth among our 100 airline clients. The growth in our transshipment traffic, while currently still the smallest part of our business, is very interesting, as it reflects the continuing development of Hong Kong as the preferred regional transshipment hub.

“The transshipment result is also gratifying, as it rewards our recent drive to promote Hacis, our added-value logistics arm. This provides scheduled road feeders into and out of mainland China, which more and more carriers are using as a safe platform to extend their reach beyond Hong Kong.

“Given the growing importance of pharma traffic to the airfreight industry, we see it as our duty to our customers to introduce the highest-possible standards for the handling of such cargo, and we have pioneered this in Hong Kong with our GDP certification. As the leading cargo terminal in Hong Kong, Hactl has a tradition of adopting all internationally recognised best practices in all aspects of its business.”

Photo: Mark Whitehead receives the Good Distribution Practices (GDP) Certification for pharmaceutical products from Miranda Kwan.