A good month for airfreight in Hong Kong

Hactl exteriorWhen we posted a summary last week of the early September results from the world’s major cargo carriers, airports, and handlers, neither Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong International Airport, nor Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl) had reported. With data now available from all three, we can say that the good news continues from Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific Airways reported September cargo traffic up 16.3% y-o-y to 839 million RTKs. This is the seventh consecutive month in which Cathay has reported monthly year-over-year jumps of between 16% and 21% (after a flat January and February), and the carrier’s cargo traffic for the first three quarters of 2014 was up 14.5% to 7.18 billion RTKs. Commenting on the September performance, Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing Mark Sutch said: “Demand out of Hong Kong and the key manufacturing regions in Mainland China and Southeast Asia continued to be strong in September, with traffic spurred by the launch of new consumer IT products in the market. Demand on the North American lanes remained strong and the Americas will remain the key focus of our cargo business as we move deeper into the peak season for airfreight. Demand to and from Europe continued to fall short of expectations.”

Hong Kong International Airport reported cargo volume in September up 5.2% y-o-y to 364,000 tonnes. Export volume was up 4.4% to 232,000 tonnes, while import volume was up 6.6% to 132,000 tonnes. For the year through August, HKIA’s handle was up 6.8% to 3.19 million tonnes. Commenting on the September results, HKIA said: “The growth in cargo throughput last month was driven mainly by transshipments, which were up 18% from a year ago. During the month, cargo throughput to/from Southeast Asia and North America increased most significantly compared to other key regions.”

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl) reported its third-quarter handle, adjusted for the loss of Cathay Pacific’s business last year, up 7.6% y-o-y to 454,000 tonnes. For the first nine months of 2014, Hactl’s adjusted handle was up 10.1% to 1.32 million tonnes. In the nine-month period, growth was led by a 35.3% jump in transshipment volume to 100,000 tonnes, while import volume was up 11.2% to 367,000 tonnes and export volume rose 7.6% to 748,000 tonnes. Hactl now also reports “Other” volume (including mail, express, and on-board courier shipments), which turns out to be fairly significant – 108,000 tonnes in the nine months, up 5.3% over 1H13. Discussing the year-to-date results, Hactl CEO Mark Whitehead said: “Organic growth among our 100 airline clients continues to produce positive results. Transshipment traffic is showing growth, with our Hacis road feeder services playing an increasingly important role in our overall business.” Looking ahead, he added: “There is never certainty in air cargo, with many extraneous factors affecting business, but we are optimistic about volumes for the balance of 2014 and are well prepared for the challenge of 2015 and onwards.”

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