Chinese ground handlers see growth in 2010

With the recovery of the airfreight market last year, South Chinese airport Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport reported handling 1.14 million tonnes of air freight in 2010, while Shenzhen Baoan International Airport handled 808,800 tonnes of air freight over the same period. By Wong Joon San.

Baiyun Airport, which was third busiest in China and 21st busiest in term of cargo world-wide in 2009, recorded a 19.9 per cent airfreight growth in 2010, helped by the 2010 Asian Games. On the other hand, Shenzhen Airport, China’s 4th busiest and world’s 27th busiest airport in terms of cargo traffic in 2009, posted a 33.6 per cent airfreight rise in 2010 versus the same period a year earlier. Last year, Guangzhou Baiyun Airport sped up work on its new freight terminal for completion before July, in time for the Asian Games. The new terminal takes up an area of 210,000 square metres with a handling capacity of 520,000 tonnes, complete with a 40,000 square metre warehouse and state-of-the-art facilities including container safety inspector and air cargo load devices. The airport has two terminals for cargo and mail as well as a logistics park, built at a cost of 800 million yuan (US$117 million). It is the only support facility for Guangzhou Baiyun Airport handling international logistics and bonded business. The cargo terminal occupies an area of 1.15 million square metres and is able to handle 2.8 million tonnes a year. The mail handling facility covers an area of 37,000 square metres while the logistics park takes up 660,000 square metres. The Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Ground Handling Services Comp any Ltd . (GAHCO), provides airport ground handling services at the Airport. As a stake-holder of the company, Dubai-based Dnata has helped transform GAHCO into one of the most modern and efficient airport ground handling companies in China. In addition, China Southern Airlines, which uses Baiyun Airport as its home base, a member of SkyTeam and the largest airline in China, became a full member of SkyTeam Cargo alliance in November last year and does its own mail and cargo ground handling. Chen Gang, executive VP of China Southern Airlines, says China Southern Cargo’s membership in SkyTeam Cargo will provide unique, standard and seamless air freight service and bring more benefits to customers via close cooperation with each of the eight SkyTeam Cargo member carriers. “China Southern will adopt SkyTeam Cargo unified service standards, simplify handling procedures and enhance ground service quality through SkyTeam Cargo joint purchasing initiatives of ground handling service worldwide,” he says. Shenzhen Airport Shenzhen Airport, one of four aviation cargo transportation centres of China planned by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), recorded handling a total of 808,800 tonnes of airfreight between January and December 2010, representing a 33.6 percent airfreight rise compared with the same period a year earlier. The established Shenzhen Airport Air Cargo Co., Ltd. (SAAC) as its subsidiary in May 1993 and has seen an average annual increase of more than 20 per cent in cargo volumes to 352,000 tonnes by 2004. SAAC is the major cargo ground handler at Shenzhen airport provides a full range of cargo handling services. Its activities are supported by a 360,000 square metres air cargo logistics park. Another ground handler at Shenzhen airport is International Cargo Centre Shenzhen (ICCS). ICCS handled more than 72,600 tonnes of cargo in 2010 to achieve a new record high last year, with a year-on-year growth of 53 per cent – the first increase after 2006. At the same time, ICCS, which provides a full range of services including warehouse cargo handling, documentations, first industry associate of Cargo 2000 (C2K – an industry initiative aimed at implementing a new quality management system for the worldwide air cargo industry) in China and ULD control, has surpassed its annual tonnage target by 12 per cent, recorded an improvement over the 10 per cent target level of 2006. “Over the past three years, ICCS has been impacted by the global financial crisis and its tonnage had at one time even recorded negative growth,” ICCS said, reflecting that the company’s strategies to overcome the downturn had paid off with the good positive results last year. ICCS is a joint venture between Shenzhen Airport Co., Ltd. (SACL) and Lufthansa Cargo AG (LCAG) with 50:50 equity share-holding of the capital of 32 million yuan (US$4.86 million). The JV provides international air cargo ground handling service for carriers, freight forwarders, shippers, and consignees, including general cargo, dangerous goods, perishable cargo, live animals, etc. ICCS started operation in 2004, providing cargo services to airline companies, cargo agencies and cargo owners based on a neutral principle. Its customers include: Air Asia; Air China; Asiana Cargo; Air Macau; China Air; China Southern;Eva Air; Donghai Airline; Federal Express; Jade Cargo; Korean Airlines; Lufthansa Cargo; Shenzhen Airlines; Silk Air; Uni-top Airline; Yangtze River Express and Tiger Airways. Last year, ICCS’s year-round target was fulfilled ahead of time in November and all the trends show the inbound and outbound cargo handling in ICCS had entered a steady recovery mode as the economic situation improved.