Sluggish import and export levels impaired freight volumes at Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals in 2011. Although Hactl saw volumes rise steadily in the last three months of the year, Hong Kong International Airport’s major airfreight operator only handled 2,719,321 tonnes in 2011, a 6.2-percent, year-over-year, drop.
Hactl welcomed 1,445,458 tonnes of exports and 676,695 tonnes of imports from January to December, year-over-year losses of 9 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively. Interestingly, transshipments at Hactl rose 5.1 percent, year-over-year; all but three months of 2011 saw higher volumes than in 2010, according to a press release.
May was a particularly difficult month of Hactl, however, with freight volumes plummeting 12 percent from 2010 levels. Nevertheless, traffic rebounded in the fourth quarter, with Hactl handling 710,021 tonnes of freight during this period. Although this is a 7.3 percent, year-over-year, loss, transhipments once again showed improvement, rising 3.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010.
The fourth quarter of 2011 also saw the commencement of Hactl’s partnerships with Azerbaijan’s Silk Way Airlines and Siberia’s S7 Airlines. In November, Hactl began handling all freight carried on Silk Way’s twice-weekly flights to Hong Kong and S7 Airlines’ weekly Vladivostok-to-Hong Kong passenger route.
Such services arguably helped Hactl recover from its staggering loss in May. “After a year when traffic was as much as 12-percent behind, to finish just 6.2-percent down on the record throughput of 2010 is a very satisfactory result,” Hactl Executive Director Lilian Chan said in a statement. “But we are still cautious about 2012.”
“The best efforts of our carriers, Hong Kong International Airport and Hactl can do little to counteract the continuing soft demand from China and Hong Kong into the world’s consumer markets,” she continued. After all, Chan explained, Hactl’s business is greatly affected by industry fluctuations.
“Until confidence returns, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, we can expect further challenging times and fairly flat performance,” she said in a statement.