Cathay Cargo has become the first carrier to offer customers in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) direct multi-modal links for upstream cargo acceptance, allowing flight-ready exports to be accepted and built up in Dongguan, then transported directly to Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
Thanks to an agreement with the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), shipments can be security screened, built up and accepted as cargo for flights at the HKIA Logistics Park in Dongguan, before being loaded onto ships to a secured area at HKIA. When they arrive, pallets and ULDs can be towed straight to waiting aircraft.
Cathay Pacific Services Ltd (CPSL), which operates the Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal is also the first Hong Kong cargo terminal operator to sign an air cargo service agreement with AAHK to operate in the pilot scheme. It has established its own upstream bonded facility – Cathay Cargo Terminal Dongguan – located at the Logistics Park Pilot Scheme in Dongguan.
‘We are delighted to join hands with AAHK to promote the economic growth of Hong Kong and the region, while further strengthening HKIA’s status as an international aviation hub by using this first and only upstream facility of its kind,’ says Director Cargo Tom Owen. He adds that the business is looking forward to offering this new option to the Hong Kong logistics industry, and developing exports from – and then over the coming months, imports into – the GBA, which is a focus area for the airline.
Eligibility for the scheme
The scheme is open to Hong Kong freight forwarders that are ‘regulated agents’ (RAs). They will need to obtain acceptance from the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD) for their application of Supplementary Pages to Regulated Agent Security Programme (RASP), which extend the RAs’ remit to upstream operations. The HKIA Logistics Park in Dongguan uses CAD-approved X-ray machines and Explosive Trace Detectors, which are operated by staff from AVSECO, which provides Hong Kong’s aviation security services.
‘The HKIA Logistics Park offers a cost-effective and efficient end-to-end solution to our freight forwarders and shippers in moving cargo to and from the GBA,’ says Owen. ‘Our customers can benefit from competitive rates on screening, palletisation and terminal charges. The project is a tremendous opportunity to further develop an important regional market and demonstrate the strength of Hong Kong as the leading air cargo hub, as well as strengthening Cathay Cargo’s attractiveness to customers.’
For Frank Yau, Cathay Cargo’s Head of Cargo Sales, Hong Kong & GBA, the project tackles several issues that will help to maintain Hong Kong’s status as the top international air-cargo hub. ‘From a macro point of view, resources like land and labour come at a very high cost in Hong Kong, so this is a great way to support our future airport growth,’ he says. ‘This scheme also means that we can provide more opportunities and provide a better service to our customers in the GBA. In the same way that Cathay Pacific provides multi-modal options for our passengers in the GBA with connections direct to airside by boat, bus and limousine, we can now offer something similar to our cargo customers.’
‘We are appreciative that we have a very progressive Airport Authority to lead this initiative and support us,’ he adds. ‘We look forward to having more connectivity between Dongguan and Hong Kong with more frequency and faster vessels, which will reduce the voyage time from six to three hours from the summer. We want this model to be extended so that we can reach out to more points in the GBA, as is the case with our airline passengers, so we can see further opportunities for the future.’
Cissy Chan, Executive Director, Commercial at AAHK, adds: ‘The HKIA Logistics Park brings our extensive air network, enormous handling capacity and efficient services to the doorstep of air cargo customers in the GBA, contributing to the supply chain and economic development of the region. We are delighted to have keen support from industry partners, especially the Cathay Pacific Group, which has pioneered the successful implementation of the pilot scheme of this strategic initiative with us.’
Cathay Cargo and CPSL had previously been involved with the AAHK pilot programme, which enabled cross-border movements of cargo exports from the GBA during a moment when trucking services were severely limited because of COVID-19 restrictions.