Canadian officials are lauding China Southern Airlines’ new freight service from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Shanghai Pudong International Airport as a launching point for a $22 billion initiative to develop Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway. They’re also eyeing growth for the region’s prolific seafood and heavy-equipment markets.
China Southern’s route, which is flown four times a week, marks the first dedicated cargo service from Canada to Mainland China. It’s also an integral part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway’s goal to transport 441,000 tonnes of airfreight between the two regions, a 48.3 percent jump from 2010.
British Columbia Minister of Agriculture Don McRae believes it’s a highly achievable goal. After all, he explained, British Columbia exported $957 million of seafood just last year — and that was before it had direct access to Shanghai, China’s largest seafood market. The region also benefits from the elimination of its aviation fuel tax, he maintains.
“[British Columbia] has worked hard to improve cargo service for seafood and other exports to Asia by building a business environment that creates opportunities and breeds success,” McRae said in a statement. “The Pacific Gateway is creating jobs for British Columbians in our coastal communities, and throughout the seafood processing and distribution chain that leads to the world through YVR.”
Although the development of Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway also centers on the region’s port, rail and road infrastructures, the air corridor is considered the most integral to boosting Asian trade relations. It’s why Canada’s International Trade Minister Ed Fast is so optimistic about China Southern’s new service.
“The efficient and effective flow of goods, services and people is a key goal of our government’s Asia-Pacific Gateway initiative, and a new direct air cargo service between Vancouver and Shanghai will lead to new jobs, stronger economic growth and greater prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers and their families,” he said in a statement.
The service will also boost YVR’s operations, the Vancouver Airport Authority’s Tony Gugliotta contends. “Cargo is an important component of YVR’s activities, employing 3,300 people in more than 100 businesses,” he stated. “China Southern Airlines all-cargo service … underscores the growth of YVR as a key international gateway for cargo on the West Coast of North America.”