A growth in imports and in particular transhipment cargo helped Seoul’s Incheon airport counteract a decline in export volumes in 2006, enabling it to clock up an 8.7 percent increase in cargo volumes to 2,336,571 tonnes for the year and a 9.7 percent yearon year rise in March.
The weakness in exports from Korea was caused by the strength of the won and a fall in demand for air cargo due to high fuel prices, according to Zeno Yoon, manager of the airport’s hub strategy team. However, transhipment – particularly from China and South East Asia, and particularly carried by Korean Air Cargo– more than counteractedthis, growing 48.9 percentin 2006 and 50.6 percentyear on year in the monthof February.
Transhipment growth was helped by the start of new freighter services by Great Wall Airlines, Jade Cargo International, and Cargo360 in 2006, along with JP Express, China Cargo Airlines, Focus Air and Aerofl ot in the fi rst quarter of 2007. The airport has also focused on encouraging integrator traffi c, and as a result has seen FedEx increase its frequencies from 18 to 23 and UPS from 24 to 26. DHL is also due to start gateway terminal operations in 2008.
The airport’s new logistics park, opened in March 2006, has attracted strong interest, and is now 63.5 percent full. Companies who have taken up facilities in the park include Kintetsu World Express, which has opened a 9,060 square metre facility, and Schenker, which has placed its 10,000 square metre north east Asian hub there.
Korean giants such as Samsung, Hyundai and Daewoo have also opened major logistics operations in the hub, and third party property developer AMB has 65,000 square metres of facilities. Pan Express, the Korean Duty Free Association and Incheon International Logistics Centre are other substantial facility operators in the park.
The airport says it expects the current zone to be full by 2008, and says work will start on the second phase of the park later in the year.
On the handling front, major global handlers have proved reluctant to open facilities in Incheon in the past, saying the two incumbent handlers, Korean Air and Asiana, are too strong in the market.
Nevertheless, the airport has completed site preparation for a second foreign airline terminal, which will double the size of the current 53,000 square metre facility, and says it is seeking investors for the project.
Korean Air is also planning a 27,300 square metre expansion of its existing 54,000 square metre facility, and TNT is planning a 6,600 square metre facility. DHL and its new transpacifi c partner Polar Air Cargo are also planning a 20,000 square metre facility at Incheon. – Peter Conway