Hong Kong International Airport aims to have its logistics park in mainland China handling 1 million tonnes of cargo per year by 2025 in a bid to cement its position as a hub and better connect the city with the Greater Bay Area, the authority has said.
Cissy Chan Ching-sze, executive director of Airport Authority Hong Kong, on Wednesday said the long-term plan was for the cargo throughput at the logistics park in Dongguan to be doubled to 2 million tonnes. It is the authority’s first offshore security check-up facility for air cargo.
The 2 million figure represents about half of the airport’s total of 4.2 million tonnes throughput last year when it was ranked the world’s busiest cargo airport.
She said the authority was in discussions with Hong Kong customs for arrangements to facilitate quicker clearance of goods.
“[It] is meant to reduce the [operation] cost by half and also reduce the [handling] time by about one-third [upon a full launch],” Chan said. “We will play a better role as a double gateway linking the Greater Bay Area to the rest of the world.”
The Greater Bay Area refers to Beijing’s plan to group Hong Kong, Macau and nine mainland cities, including Shenzhen, into an IT-led economic powerhouse.
Hong Kong customs said it had been facilitating the scheme by implementing tailor-made control measures to help expedite transshipment and uphold the city’s role as a logistics hub.
Under the authority’s sea-air transshipment initiative, mainland goods are checked by Hong Kong aviation security staff and undergo palletisation at the logistics park.
From there, they are sent to a port nearby and transshipped to the airside intermodal cargo pier at Hong Kong airport and placed on flights to overseas destinations.
“All the procedures comply with Hong Kong aviation safety requirements,” Chan said.
She added that checked cargo was labelled and wrapped in a security net in the logistics park. Cargo will be shipped to the airport on a designated vessel equipped with surveillance cameras and GPS to ensure safety.
The scheme aims to cut transport time and save Hong Kong customs from having to check the goods at the airport again.
So far, 27 freight forwarders and five airline companies had been granted permission to transship goods from the logistic park to Hong Kong airport, the authority said.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu visited the logistics park last month during a four-day bay area tour. He said he believed the initiative would enhance Hong Kong’s position as a global aviation hub.
Transport sector lawmaker Frankie Yick Chi-ming said the sea-air transshipment initiative would be more attractive to businesses when it matured.
“It acts as a new way to transport goods and get them straight into the airport. It has the advantage because Hong Kong is opening its third runway next year,” Yick said.
The authority earlier estimated that the airport would be able to handle 9 million tonnes of cargo per year when its three runways were fully operational in 2024.