Monday, December 20, 2010

Chinese Air Freight Services Fly Into The Future

New Tie Ups and Facilities for the Major Carriers
Shipping News Feature

CHINA – The air freight scene is expanding rapidly as the main cargo carriers invest and amalgamate to take advantage of the growth in traffic. The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines traffic figures we reported in August showed a considerable jump and the latest report, released in November, shows October traffic up 16.6% against last year measured by freight tonnage per kilometre.

August saw Cathay Pacific open their new state of the art cargo handling facility in Hong Kong at a reported cost of HK$5.5 billion. Work was halted in 2008 when the economic situation deteriorated but the upswing in fortunes and tonnages saw the project revived. The carrier also announced the purchase of 36 new freight aircraft as the terminal opened.

Earlier in the year Cathay agreed to link up with Air China and create a joint service using the Air China Cargo Airline and just last month we told of the commencement of this project planned for January. Now it seems its all change as the major carriers link up with their smaller brethren and consolidate services. China Eastern Airlines, having taken over Shanghai Cargo Airlines and Great Wall Air, a small all-cargo airline based at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, now intend to combine the freight operations of the three carriers under the China Cargo Airlines banner and will see its share in the revised airline fall to just over 50% from 70% as China Cargo took cash on board from its shipping group stockholders to finance the deals.

China Eastern, COSCO, Singapore Cargo Airlines and Concord Pacific (owned by Taiwan based carrier EVA Air) are all contributing to elevate the status of the reformed carrier. With Asia looking to be the fastest growing air freight market, and China leading the charge this may not be the last consolidation as the major carriers jockey for prime positions in a developing market.

Photo:- Artists impression of the new Cathay Pacific terminal.