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New state-of-the-art Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal marks another significant investment in Hong Kong

10 Aug 2010



Cathay Pacific Airways today staged an event at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to highlight the state-of-the-art features of the new Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal. With a development cost of approximately HK$5.5 billion, the facility marks a significant investment in Hong Kong and underlines the airline’s continued commitment to developing the city’s position as a global aviation and airfreight hub.

Guest of honour at the event, officiated by the airline’s Chief Executive Tony Tyler, was Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng. Also present at the occasion were Marvin Cheung, Chairman of Airport Authority Hong Kong; Norman Lo, Director-General of Civil Aviation; and Stanley Hui, Chief Executive Officer of Airport Authority Hong Kong.

Speaking at the event, Tony Tyler said: “Hong Kong's position as the world’s leading international airfreight hub is a remarkable achievement, but we cannot afford to take our preeminent position for granted. A concerted effort to improve Hong Kong’s capacity and competitiveness is needed if we are to face up to growing competition from other airports in the region.
“We are building a terminal that will be one of the biggest, busiest and most efficient in the world, employing state-of-the-art operational and environmental features. We believe that more capacity - and more competition – will result in an increase in cargo flights to Hong Kong, which in turn will bring economic benefits to the city. There will be new employment opportunities not only from the construction and operation of the cargo terminal but for the entire air cargo industry as it grows.”

Eva Cheng said: “This project is strategically important. It will, in particular, increase the air cargo handling capacity of the airport by some 50% to 7.4 million tonnes per year. We expect more competition for this business upon completion of the project, with lower cost, better service and greater efficiency.”

In March 2008, the Airport Authority awarded Cathay Pacific Services Ltd (CPSL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the airline, the franchise to invest in, design, construct and operate the new air cargo terminal at HKIA under a 20-year agreement. The facility, scheduled to begin operations in early 2013, will occupy a site of around 10 hectares in the airport’s cargo area.

Work originally began on the terminal in the summer of 2008 but was suspended later that year due to the severity of the financial crisis. With the pick-up in the economy, and a corresponding rebound in the airline’s business and the airfreight market generally, Cathay Pacific has been able to resume construction and continue to fulfil its commitment to investing in Hong Kong.
The terminal is being designed for an annual air cargo throughput of 2.6 million tonnes and will help boost the efficiency and competitiveness of the Hong Kong air cargo hub. At the heart of the cargo terminal is a HK$1.4 billion mechanical handling system, or MHS, which will be the most advanced in the world to date.

The new Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal will be one of the most advanced in the world with a number of sophisticated operational and environmental features:

  • The efficient design of the terminal, coupled with the use of advanced technology, will enable forwarders and shippers to enjoy a reduced cut-off time for pre-packed export deliveries.
  • Imported perishable cargo can be delivered to the consignee immediately after being towed to the cargo terminal from the aircraft.
  • The ground floor of the terminal will have two lanes with 57 airside interfaces for import and export operations.
  • A fully mechanised buffering area will organise and pre-queue export cargo to allow a seamless, just-in-time operation run in cooperation with ramp-handling company HAS.
  • The ground floor will feature a dedicated Quick Transshipment - or QT – area, where transshipment cargo will be re-sorted according to its onward destination without the need to travel to higher floors of the terminal. This will enable a significant reduction in the minimum connection time.
  • Other cargo awaiting transit can be staged indoors, protecting consignments from adverse weather conditions.
  • The cargo terminal has two warehouse floors to handle import cargo or other non-palletized export shipment. Workstations will be organised in a way that allows workers can to build up or breakdown units in the most efficient manner.
  • The terminal has been designed with environmental considerations in mind. The facility will use an advanced waste management system, offices will utilize natural lighting to save energy, and cladding will help to regulate the temperature inside the building.

The contract for the construction of the main terminal building has been awarded to a Gammon-Hip Hing Joint Venture while the MHS will be provided by Siemens.

The new cargo terminal is just one of a number of major investments Cathay Pacific has made in its home city, Hong Kong. The airline was the largest private investor in the infrastructure of Hong Kong International Airport, including its state-of-the-art corporate headquarters at Cathay Pacific City.  It has also significantly enlarged its fleet since 1997 and has just announced plans to buy 36 new passenger aircraft valued at around HK$75 billion.

The airline will continue to strengthen its freighter fleet, taking delivery of 10 new Boeing 747-8Fs commencing in January next year. The new freighters and the building of the state-of-the-art cargo terminal both serve to underscore Cathay Pacific’s long-term confidence in the local airfreight industry and the strength of its commitment to developing Hong Kong as one of the world’s leading international aviation hubs.

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