Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is exploring the development of new transhipment and intermodal air cargo handling facilities in the airside Eastern Support Area of the three-runway system.
The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) says in its fiscal year 2017/18 report that in addition to bolstering the efficiency of its cargo operations, the new facilities would allow HKIA to capitalise on demand for intermodal transhipments in the Greater Bay Area. The third runway is due for completion in 2024.
Meanwhile the airport handled a total cargo volume of 5.06 million tonnes for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2019, down from the 5.1 million tonnes it saw in fiscal year 2017/18 but still securing its status as the world’s busiest cargo airport for the ninth consecutive year.
Jack So Chak-kwong, chairman of Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), says: “Over the past two decades, HKIA has made significant contributions to Hong Kong, driving its growth as an international city.
“Through the continuous development of our passenger and cargo services, the expansion of our cross-boundary multimodal transport network, and the growth of commercial and other facilities around the airport, HKIA is poised to transform from a city airport into an Airport City in the coming years.”
During the year, HKIA’s leadership in the air cargo business again received global recognition on fast-growing, high-value cargo segments. In March 2019 HKIA became the world’s first airport community to receive IATA’s Centre of Excellence for Perishable Logistics certification for handling high-value, perishable products. This followed an AAHK-led, community-based certification effort that included cargo terminal operators and a Hong Kong-based airline.
And last year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) accredited HKIA as a Partner Airport in its Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) programme.
In January 2019, HKIA also launched an airport-to-airport pharma corridor with Brussels Airport. All shipments in the corridor are handled in strict compliance with the IATA’s CEIV Pharma standards and carried by a CEIV Pharma-certified airline.
The corridor was established through Pharma.Aero, a cross- industry collaboration for shippers, CEIV-certified cargo communities, airport operators and other air cargo industry stakeholders. The initiative aims to create pioneering services and set standards for handling temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products.
“Through Pharma.Aero, we will promote the corridor model to other airports, with the goal of forming a transportation network for pharma shippers,” the airport says.
During the fiscal year, the AAHK also awarded the right to develop and manage a premium logistics centre in the South Cargo Precinct to a consortium led by Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, during the year.
Scheduled to open in 2023, the new facility with an estimated gross floor area of 380,000 sqm will incorporate cutting-edge robotics and automation as well as temperature-controlled facilities. The facility will be Hong Kong’s third-largest warehouse when it commences operation in 2023.
It is expected to help HKIA capture opportunities arising from the burgeoning cross-boundary e-commerce market and temperature-sensitive products, the AAHK says.
The logistics centre will enable HKIA to handle an incremental cargo volume of approximately 1.7 million tonnes per annum.
Fred Lam, chief executive officer of the AA, says “I would like to express my profound gratitude to our business partners and to the 73,000 men and women working at HKIA who helped us achieve outstanding performance again during the year.
“As HKIA’s businesses continue to flourish, the airport has opened a new chapter in its development — evolving from a transport hub to a mega-cluster that houses a wide spectrum of economic activities akin to a city, surrounding and radiating from the airport. The Airport City vision will guide our future development for many years to come.”
Further expanding HKIA’s extensive network, 17 new destinations were added in 2018/19, including Brussels South Charleroi, Cairo, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Darwin, Datong, Davao, Dublin, Hohhot, Krabi, Medan, Moscow Vnukovo, Nagasaki, Washington, Yancheng, Yangzhou and Yinchuan. HKIA also welcomed five new carriers: Air Belgium, EgyptAir, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Thai Smile Airways.