Weekly News Roundup 14-21 August

A brief roundup of the news and events that took place last week… all in 2½ minutes…


It was a busy week in Asia and indeed elsewhere in the air cargo world, with new Chinese cargo carriers upping their game and established players struggling with various issues. This week it perhaps might end up being a 4½ minute read. Our apologies.

At centre stage was Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KILIA) where Customs and wildlife officials uncovered the largest illegal shipment ever of rhinoceros horns worth nearly USD 12 million. Malaysia has been singled out by wildlife conservancy groups as a key transit country for the trafficking of wildlife. The continued trafficking problem prompted the regional head of TRAFFIC – a NGO dedicated to the prevention of wildlife trafficking – to call for a “closer look” into KLIA and all of its operators, something sure to stir up a hornets’ nest of complaints.

Meanwhile in China, a new cargo carrier has been given its wings by the government regulator, with Tianjin Air Cargo given the green light to begin freighter flights with the three B737s it has ready and waiting.

And YTO Cargo Airlines, the air carrier subsidiary of YTO Express, the largest domestic express delivery company behind China Post, has undertaken its first international cargo service, to Astana in Kazakhstan.

Nearby in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific saw its group cargo volumes up 2.9 per cent in July, boosted in part by transshipment volume growth, particularly from Japan, Southeast Asia and America.

In the neighbouring Pearl River Delta, Japanese freight forwarder and logistics company, Yusen Logistics, rolled out a new product aimed at alleviating cargo congestion at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN). It’s new emergency express service promises six hour cargo import for urgent cargo.

Over in Japan, Nippon Cargo Airlines is still struggling to get nine of its 11 B747F fleet back in the air after being grounded over safety concerns. The carrier has submitted its Preventative Measures plan to the government regulator as it works to get its remaining grounded fleet certified to fly again.

Down in Papua New Guinea, Air Niugini Cargo began a new partnership with Australia’s Hevilift Ltd following the recent MoU for exclusive marketing and use of Hevilift’s converted ATR-42 freighter. The converted ATR-42 freighter arrived at Port Moresby’s Jacksons International Airport (POM) on 11 August and is due to begin service following a make-over to apply Air Niugini Cargo’s livery.

Heading further south, Germany’s Rhenus Group has opened its first New Zealand branch under the name Rhenus Logistics NZ, with the aim of tapping the vibrant trade between New Zealand and Asia, as well as Europe.

And also in the antipodean world, Australia’s Qantas Freight experienced an incident with one of it’s B737-300 freighters in which the pilot became incapacitated after the cabin depressurised due to a “wing body overheat warning”. The flight is operated by Express Freighters Australia, a division of Qantas.

Moving back up to Southeast Asia, DHL eCommerce announced a tie-up with the Shopee e-commerce platform in Malaysia for next-day delivery across most of the country.

Middle East

Heading west, Etihad Cargo found a buyer for its dormant fleet of five A330-200 freighters that have been sitting idle for over seven months now. DHL Aviation is the proud owner of the five freighters, to be pressed into service for its Express arm, likely out of its Leipzig hub. As for Etihad, its cargo future remains to be seen as the carrier struggles to dig itself out of financial hole.

In neighbouring Dubai, Emirates SkyCargo upped its game in the live animal realm, with two new revamped domestic pet products – Emirates Pets and Emirates Pets Plus. The carrier has also entered into a partnership with Snoopy Pets, a leading pet relocation service provider based out of Dubai, to offer a new premium door-to-door transportation service in 16 markets.

And from domestic pets to pharmaceutical, SkyCargo was also busy uplifting what amounted to its largest ever shipment of vaccines. The Dubai carrier uplifted over 25 tonnes of vaccines from Milan to Belo Horizonte in Brazil, a shipment equivalent to 1.8 million doses that moved in 36 Envirotainer containers.

Further afield, in Addis Ababa Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam was positively delighted with the carrier’s “exceptional” 2017/18 financial year, which also saw cargo jump by 18 per cent to 400,339 tonnes.


Meanwhile up north, Turkish Cargo gave five endangered white rhinos a lift from Joburg, via Istanbul to Shanghai where the five one tonne mammals will help spread awareness in China of the importance of protecting endangered wildlife.

In Frankfurt, Pelican BioThermal opened its new network station to service the resusable Crēdo Cube parcel shippers where demand for temperature controlled shipping continues to grow.

Also in Germany, Lufthansa Cargo has substantially boosted its cargo offering through the marketing of Brussels Airlines Cargo capacity, which brings with it 15 African destinations.

In the UK the mood may be tempered by ongoing Brexit headaches, but at Air Charter Service (ACS) the summer is running hot as the aircraft charter specialist saw its half year results for the six months ending 31 July 2018, up 23 per cent, from GBP 195.2 million (USD 253 million) to GBP 240.5 million with a 21 per cent jump in cargo contracts.

And in Norway, Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) and Sjømatterminalen AS signed an agreement to operate the new cool chain Seafood Centre at Oslo Airport which will have the capacity to handle up to 250,000 tonnes of seafood annually when its completed in 2021. Demand for fresh and frozen seafood had grown substantially, particularly in China with Ethiopian Airlines Cargo recently starting a new maindeck service between Oslo and Guangzhou in China catering to this trade.

It was celebration time in Moscow, where AirBridgeCargo uplifted its 500th aircraft engine for 2018, representing a 50 per cent growth year-on-year for this outsized business.


And finally, in North America, the XYO Network has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), bringing with it geospatial, blockchain-powered location network expertise. And no, we’re not going to pretend we have 100% competency on this topic, but you can read the details here.

Making the loop almost complete, we move to west to Hawaii where Hawaiian Airlines has launched its all-cargo ATR-72F service between Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Līhu‘e Airport (LIH) and Hilo International Airport (ITO) by transporting construction and household supplies to support relief efforts in the Hawaiian islands.

ECS Group

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