Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd. handled 58,543 tonnes of transshipments in March, a 7.7 percent, year-over-year, increase, and the highest monthly volume in company history. March exports were also up for Hactl, rising 0.4 percent, year-over-year, to 137,598 tonnes; import levels remained “disappointing,” however, according to a press release.
Hactl welcomed 57,630 tonnes of imports in March, a 10 percent, year-over-year, plunge. Even so, the airfreight handler saw 253,771 tonnes of cargo go through its doors last month, the highest volume in a year and only 0.7-percent less than March 2011.
From a quarterly perspective, Hactl handled 633,935 tonnes of cargo from January to March, a 2.5 percent, year-over-year, decline. According to a press release, Europe ranked as Hactl’s top export market during the first quarter while Southeast Asia led its import and transshipment traffic.
Hactl Executive Director Lilian Chan said she’s encouraged by the fact that tonnage only dropped modestly during the first quarter. “We have progressively closed the gap, which opened up during 2011, when we experienced a fall to as much as 12 percent below the previous year’s strong performance, in May 2011,” she said in a statement.
“The anomaly created by the different dates of the Chinese New Year in 2011 and 2012 has now worked its way through, so comparisons are more meaningful again,” Chan continued. What’s unclear, she said, is whether the rest of 2012 will look like 2011 or if the recovery experienced during the first quarter is a sign that cargo volumes will slowly return to 2010 levels.
Still, Chan said she is hopeful for the latter, despite uncertainty in the U.S. and eurozone. “But global trade is bigger than all of us,” she said, “and generally defies accurate prediction.”