China business booms at Bournemouth

Chinese delegation at Bournemouth Airport. Photo: Cargo First

Bournemouth Airport’s cargo handling service, Cargo First has announced the doubling of capacity between Bournemouth and China and the signing of a new cargo development agreement following the launch of an e-commerce route earlier this year.

Shenzhen Sharing Express Logistic-Tech Ltd and airline European Cargo started the first all-cargo route between Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in China and Bournemouth Airport in the first half of the year with three flights per week.

But as of September 18, there are now six flights per week on the route, equating to a capacity of more than 20,000 tonnes per year.

The service is operated by Bournemouth-based operator European Cargo using its fleet of all-cargo A340 passenger to freighter (P2F) widebody freighters, each with a capacity of 76 tonnes.

The growing importance of the route as an e-commerce gateway was underlined by a reciprocal trade mission between Sichuan Province and Bournemouth in August.

This included the signing of a cargo development agreement between Sichuan Province Airport Group Company and Regional & City Airports (RCA), the owner of Bournemouth Airport.

This aims to build ‘Chengdu-Bournemouth’ as a dual hub co-operation platform between Chengdu and Europe, providing a stable logistics channel for the import and export of e-commerce goods.

Cargo First is also seeing a growing proportion – around 30% – of consignments from Chengdu clearing customs locally in Bournemouth and bypassing Heathrow warehouses altogether for onward travel in the UK, said the airport.

Bournemouth Airport managing director Steve Gill said: “Doubling capacity on the Chengdu route is a huge vote of confidence in Bournemouth as an e-commerce gateway to the UK.”

He added: “We were delighted to welcome a delegation from Sichuan Province to Bournemouth recently and to see the operation in Chengdu, where we signed our co-operation agreement. With more than 20,000 tonnes of capacity on the route we also see growing opportunities for UK producers shipping goods to China.”

European Cargo’s chief executive David Kerr added: “We are delighted that the ability for ECL to deploy scale capacity over extended global markets, with reliability and value, has allowed our customer to place their trust in our new and unique freighter proposition.

“But the journey is also about the partnerships on the ground in Bournemouth and Chengdu, that deliver a comprehensive and differentiated solution. As we expand our converted fleet beyond the current four aircraft to 10 over the next 18 months, we aim to grow with our partners and their respective shipper and consignee customers.”

Bournemouth Airport launched air cargo operation Cargo First in April 2022.

New all-cargo service between China and UK

Bournemouth Airport launches cargo handling operation

Bournemouth ventures into cargo

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]