A proud spotlight on Hong Kong

Tom Owen, Director Cargo

It was a very successful IATA World Cargo Symposium (WCS) here in Hong Kong, which we co-hosted alongside Hong Kong International Airport. It was not only the most well-attended WCS ever, but also the biggest ever IATA event, attracting 1,948 delegates.

WCS Highlight Reel

Speakers from across the Cathay Group delivered keynotes and provided their insights throughout the event, and it was a delight to catch up with many of you at the Cathay Cargo stand and gala dinner. The success of the WCS was a tremendous testament to the hard work of our teams, and I’m very proud to see Cathay Cargo and our home hub portrayed in such a positive light. The whole event reaffirmed all our optimism and commitment to Hong Kong and its future, and our vision to build Cathay Cargo into the world’s best air cargo carrier.

WCS laid out the challenges and opportunities for the air cargo industry across three principal areas – digitalisation, sustainability, and safety and security. And one clear topic that came up time and time again during the plenaries and panels was the need for a greater degree of collaboration across the industry, if we are to achieve the sustainable growth we need. We made our own mark with sustainability at the show, with Cathay Cargo Terminal becoming one of the first cargo terminals to achieve IATA IEnvA accreditation in Asia.

Digitalisation was the other key focus across WCS. We were very proud to be one of the first signatories to the Air Cargo Digitalization Leadership Charter, alongside our development partner Global Logistics System HK Co Ltd (GLS). It’s a clear demonstration of our commitment to maintaining our digital leadership role and adopting global industry standards. The WCS gave us the chance to showcase several Industry firsts around IATA ONE Record integrations. This was further highlighted in the days after WCS at the Cathay Cargo sponsored IATA Hackathon in Shenzhen, where GLS was among the winners for innovation around applying the IATA ONE Record protocols and AI.

Immediately following the WCS, we took part in another first by hosting the third-party teams that represent us around the world. These were really productive sessions with good inputs and knowledge-sharing on both sides. Our General Sales Agents, Global Handling Agents and terminal operators represent our brand to customers in many places where we do not have Cathay Cargo people directly in place. Aligning them with our strategy and improving how we cooperate with these crucial industry players will be a focus for us for the months ahead.

In terms of the market performance, our reasonable start to the year continues and, as outlined in our annual results, we showed a strong return to profit at the Group level during 2023. Cargo played a key part in this. Our recovery in wide body belly capacity also continues as the passenger network rebuilds. Our sales teams are examining the new sources of data available to them to uncover new opportunities: in particular how we can balance our lift by growing opportunities for higher-yield special-handling solutions. We are also continuing to ensure that we make the most of the growth of e-commerce demand out of the Greater Bay Area.

It was energising to demonstrate at WCS that both Cathay Cargo and Hong Kong are back and here for the long haul. We now look forward to engaging with more customers at the upcoming Hong Kong Rugby Sevens where we have a dedicated hospitality box, then later in April at our booth at LogiPharma in Lyon and finally at the Air Cargo China event.