Record air cargo volume flows through Shanghai terminal

Record air cargo volume flows through Shanghai terminal

Shanghai’s largest air cargo terminal has continued its solid volume growth of 2015 into the first quarter, handling record year-over-year throughput from January to March.

March cargo volume at Shanghai Pudong International Airport Cargo Terminal Co., Ltd., or Pactl, rose almost 7 percent compared with the same month last year and the 142,297 tons that crossed its busy apron helped lift first-quarter traffic to 367,791 tons, up 1.5 percent.

It was the strongest results in the month of March and in the first quarter of any year in the Sino-German terminal’s history.

"In line with the strong overall performance of Shanghai Pudong International Airport, we managed to continue our growth path on a level similar to the previous year where we achieved a record result of nearly 1.6 million tons of air cargo,” said Lutz Grzegorz, vice president of Pactl.

The terminal’s import cargo volumes increased by 1.4 percent year-over-year to 157,270 tons during the first three months. International imports rose by 1.9 percent to 146,241 tons, while domestic imports decreased by 4.5 percent to 11,029 tons.

Pactl’s export cargo volumes grew by 1.5 percent to 210,521 tons. International exports showed a growth rate of 1.8 percent to reach 198,337 tons, while domestic exports declined by 2.6 percent to 12,184 tons.

“In line with the strong overall performance of Shanghai Pudong International Airport, we managed to continue our growth path on a level similar to the previous year where we achieved a record result of nearly 1.6 million tonnes of air cargo,” said Grzegorz.

The terminal was able to further increase its market share at China’s busiest cargo airport, processing 49.2 percent of the air cargo handled at Shanghai Pudong in the first quarter, an increase of 0.4 percent compared with the first quarter of 2015. Pactl brings together three shareholders: Shanghai Airport (Group) (51 percent), Lufthansa Cargo (29 percent) and JHJ Logistics Management Co. (20 percent).

To the south, air freight flowing through the world’s busiest air cargo hub, Hong Kong International Airport, in the first quarter declined 3.5 percent compared to the first three months of 2015, with the airport handling 987,000 tons.

March volume grew 1.1 percent year-over-year to 368,000 tons, primarily due to 5 percent growth in exports and 3 percent growth in transshipment cargo. Among the key trading regions, traffic to and from India and Australasia increased most significantly during the month. On a rolling 12-month basis, cargo throughput in Hong Kong dropped by 1.4 percent to 4.34 million tonnes.

Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong-based carrier that operates its own cargo terminal in the city, reported a 3.1 percent decline in tonnage carried in the first quarter compared to last year, handling almost 422,000 tons during the three months.

Mark Sutch, Cathay Pacific general manager cargo sales and marketing, said after a weak February there was some improvement during March.

“This was helped by the shipment of new consumer IT products out of the major manufacturing cities of Western China,” he said. “There was a pickup in traffic on key trans-Pacific routes, and we mounted a number of additional flights into India in response to continued robust demand. Overall, however, the air cargo markets remain soft and yield remains under pressure in what is a highly competitive environment.”

Contact Greg Knowler at greg.knowler@ihs.com and follow him on Twitter: @greg_knowler.