Huge jump in Hong Kong cargo volume

Cargo volume was up 17.7% y-o-y in March at Hong Kong International. Hactl (pictured) is one of three big handlers at the airport, along with Cathay Pacific Services and Asia Airfreight Terminals.

Hong Kong International Airport reported cargo volume in March up 17.7% y-o-y, to 433,000 tonnes.

In 2015, cargo volume growth at HKIA  stalled, and the Airport’s full-year handle was up just one-tenth of one percent over 2014. This stagnation continued through the first half of 2016, and, despite a strong finish in the last few months, full-year growth was only 3.2%.

The combined January/February 2017 period (which washes out the impact of the timing of the Chinese New Year holiday) saw HKIA’s handle up 7.6% over January/February 2016, so it appeared that the strong growth of late 2016 was carrying over into 2017.

March results from Incheon Airport in Korea, and PACTL (the biggest handler at Shanghai Pudong Airport) — up 11.7% and 11.4% y-o-y, respectively, indicated that air freight demand growth on North Asia was continuing strongly, but today’s news of 17.7% y-o-y growth at HKIAA makes it clear that “continuing strongly” is an understatement.

Commenting on the results, HKIA said: “The strong growth in cargo throughput was largely driven by exports, which recorded a robust 24% year-on-year increase.  Imports and transshipments also experienced double-digit growth. Amongst the key trading regions, Europe and North America showed the most significant increases.”

For the first quarter of 2017, HKIA’s cargo handle was up 11.3% to 1.1 million tonnes.

Also worth noting is that the big increase in cargo volume in March came against a background of declining passenger traffic, which was down 2.0% y-o-y for the month.

To learn more about the air freight and express industry from the airport point of view, join us at Cargo Facts Asia in Shanghai next week, where executives from Incheon Airport, Brussels Airport, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, the Shanghai Airport Authority, and PACTL will participate in several sessions.

To register, or for more information, visit

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