Malaysia and China boost air cargo connectivity

Photo: Jaromir Chalabala/ Shutterstock

Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Henan Aviation Group Co., Ltd (CHAGC) aimed at boosting air cargo connectivity and logistics between Malaysia and China.

This strategic partnership is anticipated to enhance the efficiency and reach of both airport operator groups by establishing new air cargo routes between Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO) and Kuala Lumpur International (KUL); creating routes linking Europe with Malaysia and strengthening KUL as a regional logistics hub.

Direct air routes between KUL and CGO will be expanded with Raya Airways due to operate cargo flights three times a week from August. Additionally, China Southern will operate daily commercial flights between the airports from June 21.

The partnership will also focus on expanding the infrastructure needed to support transshipment and re-export activities. By leveraging CHAGC’s expertise, this collaboration will enhance KUL’s cargo capabilities, said MAHB in a press release.

CHAGC currently manages CGO and also has cargo terminal projects in Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD) and Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ).

“CHAGC plans to expand its overseas projects in Asia, and particularly in Malaysia, it is exploring the establishment of an air cargo hub to complement China’s Belt and Road Initiative, thus enhancing air connectivity between the regions,” added MAHB.

Mohamed Rastam Shahrom, MAHB acting group chief executive, said: “This MoU with CHAGC underscores our commitment to enhancing Malaysia’s position in global trade. By expanding our air cargo connectivity and logistics capabilities, we are also creating new opportunities for economic growth and development in the region.”

MAHB has been expanding KUL’s cargo facilities in line with its “KLIA Aeropolis Master Plan”. The master plan is closely aligned with Malaysia’s National Transport Policy 2019-2030 and the New Industrial Master Plan 2030, aimed at driving the nation’s industrial growth and transport efficiency.

KUL currently handles 21 scheduled freighters transporting cargo to and from 40 countries, hosting over 200 third-party logistics providers and freight forwarding agents. In 2023, KUL registered approximately 700,000 metric tonnes of cargo movements. 

Successful developments under the master plan include the launch of KLIA Air Cargo Terminal 1 in 2017. This increased the total capacity of KUL’s cargo terminal space to 2m sq ft.

In 2020, the Cainiao Aeropolis eWTP Hub was completed, providing 1m sq ft of regional distribution centre (RDC) space through a collaboration with Alibaba’s logistics arm, Cainiao.

Earlier this year, DHL Express also began operating its fully automated sorting facility with a capacity of 10,000 parcels per hour.

Moving forward, MAHB plans to accelerate growth at KUL with the first phase of the 200-acre Aeropolis Industrial Park, focusing on air-centric, high-value sectors and components such as aerospace, electronics and electrical (E&E), as well as halal and cold chain logistics.

Malaysia Airlines adds Maastricht Aachen Airport to network

New cargo terminal opens for business at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International

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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]