Africa and Middle East lead cargo growth

CONTINENTAL first half airfreight volumes have been a mixed bag, with Asia seeing a slump, while the Middle East and Africa surge ahead.

In east Asia performance has been largely grim. The world’s largest cargo airport Hong Kong International has faced sluggish throughput with first half 2011 figures at 1,325,095 tonnes, dropping 4.7 per cent year-on-year.

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) reported a total of 220,726 tonnes handled in June, down 10.3 per cent year-on-year. The second quarter period saw a similar decline at 10.4 per cent.

“Taking into account the extra high-base effect from the first half of 2010 backed by the post-financial tsunami trade volume recovery, the performance in the first half of 2011 actually showed an expected milder growth pertaining to the slowdown in economic recovery,” Lilian Chan, executive director of Hactl, said. “With 2011 first half volume exceeding 2008 pre-crisis volume, we are hopeful that cargo volume can regain its normal growth trajectory in the second half of the year.”

Import volumes last month registered a 16 per cent tumble against 2010’s figures. Cumulative import tonnage for the first half of the year was 344,871 tonnes, down 5.8 per cent against the same period last year.

Import volume from China for the first half of the year reported a year-on-year decrease of 6.3 per cent.

Conversely import volume from Europe and the US witnessed a growth of 4.4 per cent and 1.8 per cent against the same period last year, while import volume from Middle East observed a strong year-on-year rise of 23.8 per cent.

Cumulative Hong Kong export tonnage for the first half of the year was down 7.6 per cent against the same period last year. Export volume to China for the first half of year represented a slight lift of 1.4 per cent.

Export volume to Europe and the US recorded a fall of 12.8 per cent and 10.1 per cent year-on-year respectively. Export numbers to Japan slid by 19.2 per cent year-on year. Export cargoes to Africa did especially well with an increase of 22.8 per cent year-on-year.

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