For too long, manufacturers in Sichuan province with multi-carton loads of over one – two tonnes, have had to suffer the untidy situation of their air-freight cargo going to destinations in ‘part lots’. Domestic passenger airlines flying from Chengdu could not just absorb these large volumes in their belly compartments.
Filling that need, Shenzhen based Donghai Airlines has commenced an all cargo service to Hong Kong. The carrier will fly their B 737-300F, four times per week with a capacity of 13 tonnes.
Th e credit for the start up of this operation must go to the local city government, which made representations on behalf of local industry to the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC). Whilst Hong Kong may not be the preferred destination of every manufacturer, this service is a step in the right direction to allow for more cargo freighters from inland cities such as Chengdu, giving faster and better routings to the large cities in China, the major air gateways and seaports.
This new service comes at the right time, particularly for Intel’s chip factory. Intel spokeswoman, Gu Yi, said: “Our current export requirement is about 45 tonnes per week, and our total cargo, inward and outward, is on the increase. We import almost everything; specialised tooling, equipment and raw materials. Due to the complexity of our business, we don’t just use one forwarding agent, we use four or five”.
Chinese customs regulations stipulate that all of Intel’s products to must go to their distribution base in Hong Kong before moving on to final destinations within Asia.” Cargo for other continents is routed outwards via Beijing.
“We are a major industry in the city with a work force of 1800 employees,” Gu said. “When we started operations in 2004, there were 8 foreign factories here, now there are 23. The economy of the city is growing and we need good logistics”.
Yu Yang of the Shenzhen Qiyang Freight Agency added: “We have been appointed as the GSA for Donghai, and we have set an officein Chengdu for this operation. Besides Intelcargo, we carry general cargo to Hong Kong,and have carried DHL courier traffic.”
“On the northbound journey we see no difficulty in filling up the aircraft. Some of it may be for Intel, and we are always open to requests. Recently we brought up a load of leather for a local shoe company which had come in by sea.”
Yu continued: “This service can also help the exporter which has cargo going truly international. Donghai has an agreement with EVA Air who fly into Hong Kong from Taipei, so we can issue a through airway-bill from Chengdu to all of their destinations around the world”.
Th e CTU/HKG route is currently flown by Dragonair and Air China with both off ering a twice-daily passenger service, but following the May earthquake in Sichuan, demand has slowed resulting in smaller A321 aircraft being used which have less space for freight.
In Hong Kong, Hactl has been appointed cargo terminal operator for Donghai.