Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) has achieved a 16.6% increase in handled tonnage in the first half of 2017.
The total of 860,242 tonnes represents growth in exports, imports, transhipments and mail/express. Hactl has now outperformed the Hong Kong market every month since September 2016.
At the same time, the number of charter flights handled by Hactl grew from 100 (January-May 2016) to 602 in the same period of 2017.
Hactl attributes the results to a number of factors, including continuing modal shift from sea to air, overflow from mainland Chinese airports, and the continuing strengthening of e-commerce traffic.
Says Hactl Chief Executive, Mark Whitehead: “Deliberate reductions in ocean capacity, continued slow-steaming and port congestion due to mounting use of mega vessels are all playing a part in the shift from ocean to air. The volumes involved will be of little concern to the ocean business, but are a significant bonus to the airfreight industry.”
E-commerce remains a major driver of imports and exports to and from China via Hong Kong. Hactl’s value-added logistics arm, Hacis, continues to pursue opportunities to the benefit of Hactl’s carrier clients – such as its work with postal authorities to provide a viable alternative for outbound mail from China that contains e-commerce items. “We are now handling 1000 mail bags every day, and that is providing welcome extra revenue for our airline customers,” continues Whitehead.
The growth in e-commerce has also been instrumental in the dramatic rise in Hactl’s charter handling business; but this has also been driven by static fuel costs that have given older freighters a reprieve, as well as by Hactl’s decision to establish a dedicated charter team to facilitate freighter operators’ use of Hong Kong, through all-inclusive service.
Hactl expects the growth trend to continue for the rest of 2017, but at a slower pace, continues Whitehead: “Forwarders and airlines are planning and booking ahead for the final quarter, having been caught out in 2016 by high spot rates driven by restricted capacity.”