Testing times for cargo says Cathay

Cathay Pacific is monitoring air cargo flows to the US from Hong Kong and China in order to assess the potential impact of trade tariffs initiated by Washington.
The Hong Kong-based airline, operating both a sizeable freighter and passenger aircraft fleet, is also running some ‘proof of concept’ trials on Bluetooth technology and blockchain to assess their future role in global supply chains.
Frosti Lau, general manager cargo service delivery, writing in the carrier’s Cargo Clan customer magazine, said: “We live in interesting times. June saw continued growth in terms of cargo and mail carried, with an increase of 5.8% on the same month last year, with load factors up by just over 2%.”
In the first six months of the year, the airline’s cargo tonnage rose by 7.5% against a 4.1% increase in capacity and a 7.3% increase in RFTKs.
Under a column with the headline: Testing times, but mainly for technology, Lau added: “In June, that included an uplift in volumes into the US from Hong Kong and mainland China. We are monitoring these flows closely given the escalation in tariffs from geopolitical [sic].
“As yet we have not seen any impact on our business but our commercial team will keep in touch with our customers to see how we can respond to any developments.
“We are confident that as a carrier operating passenger and freighter aircraft that we are well equipped with  a network, including our recently announced passenger route to Seattle, and fleet that will enable us to serve our customers in an agile manner and keep the supply chain moving.”
Lau also wrote of the excitement across the industry about technologies such as next generation track and trace and blockchain.
Said Lau: “We have been running some ‘proof of concept’ trials on Bluetooth technology and blockchain to see how we can work towards delivering our industry’s ambitions of an efficient, secure yet transparent logistics service with end to end visibility for shipper, forwarder, airline and consignee.
“The potential is huge, from recording the location, age and status of ULDs to tracking and tracing piece-level shipments, recording and transmitting data about their journey. And blockchain’s secure contract technology could also enable option of automate payments on delivery.”
He added that many of the concepts and technology are new and changing rapidly, “but we look forward to working with industry partners to deliver a future that is right for us all”.
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