With 30 years experience in the airfreight industry in forwarding, airline and ground handling, Christian Haug presently holds the position of vice president of Shanghai Pudong Int’l Airport Cargo Terminal Co., Ltd. He is mainly responsible for production, marketing and sales. Before working for PACTL, he worked for Lufthansa for 27 years in Munich, Frankfurt, New York and Shanghai.
ACW: You are constantly working on improvements of your PVG operations, with a focus on digitisation. How is that coming on?
Haug: Last year, we started to roll out easyCargo. It’s our ePlatform and will enable the all PVG airfreight to process paperless cargo handling, along the entire export and import process chain.
ACW: China’s middle class is continuously spreading, enabling a growing number to buy sought-after items coming from producers in Europe or North America. Will this lead to a re-alignment process that replaces the decades-long imbalance of goods flown into and out of China?
Haug: When I came to China, the airfreight business was still export- heavy. Over the last five years, especially Shanghai but also Beijing, has became more or less in balance, which means full flights in and out. This is not yet the case, yet, when it comes to other locations like Zhengzhou, Chongqing or Chengdu. I think this is also just a question of time and China is a very speedy and dynamic market.
ACW: What are prospects for 2018 at PACTL?
Haug: Digitisation in regard to our processes and modernisation of our existing infrastructure and IT. Cargo capacity extension at PVG and to further develop and maintain our core business and also look in to added value service for special commodities such as eCommerce, pharma, perishable and dangerous goods. In addition we are also working to develop PACTL into a more international company.
ACW: In late 2017, PACTL had some issues regarding customs procedures between Shanghai and Nantong. What were they and have they been resolved?
Haug: This is still work-in-progress, but we are also very happy with the local development there in Nantong. We handled a first freighter flight end of last year and the business there is also growing.
ACW: What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
Haug: I have worked at many different locations, spending a couple of years in the US and China. One thing I learned about myself is that I really like to live and work here in China. I might even say I have found a home here in Shanghai.
ACW: In your time at PACTL, have you visited any other parts of China? Do you have a favourite location in the country?
Haug: I did and I do, but especially during my time with Lufthansa Cargo I travelled a lot within China and also Asia Pacific. China is a huge country and still many places I haven’t seen, but I can say I have been around a lot especially along the east coast, in the north and also west China.
ACW: Was there a culture shock in moving from New York to Shanghai? Did you find any similarities in the business culture?
Haug: Not at all, Shanghai is a very modern city at it was not difficult at all. Doing business in China is a bit more straightforward, it’s the right place for someone like me who has a lot of ideas as it is open for new things and change.
ACW: We finish the interview and you step outside the office and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning 10 million RMB. What would you do?
Haug: I would use it for the future development of my children. I would keep some to buy a food truck one day (which I actually really plan to do) and drive around and cook together with someone and provide fine food and drinks at many places.
ACW: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Haug: Many things. My father worked for Seaboard and Flying Tigers airlines and I had often the opportunity to come with him to the airport, go to warehouses and play in the office with the old telex machines and the yellow ticker tape. I always liked the international surrounding and airplanes, I think this is how I found my profession.
ACW: Coke or Pepsi?
Haug: Have to admit it is Coke, but I try to stay away from it as much as I can.
ACW: Barbeque or fine dining?
Haug: All kind of food, depends on the mood.
ACW: German beer or Tsingtao?
Haug: Any kind of beer. I also like British ale and lager. By the way, Tsingtao was founded by Germans!
ACW: What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
Haug: In 49 years of life, I would come up with a long list. What came immediately to my mind was I bought a sport watch four years ago that helped me to get in good shape again. The worst, maybe, was my first packet of cigarettes that made me start smoking when I was young!