Cargo volumes have continued strong growth at Changi Airport, with October up 8.9 per cent to 177,000 tonnes.
Singapore’s airport has seen year-on-year growth in every month of 2016, from as little as 0.1 per cent in February to as much as 9.4 per cent in July. On a year-to-date basis, cargo has grown 5.9 per cent to 1.6 million tonnes.
Changi Airport Group assistant vice president cargo & logistics development air hub development, Phau Hui Hoon says: “It has been one of the best years so far over the last five years. A lot of the growth was driven by imports and transhipments. The cargo segments that have done well are perishables and pharmaceuticals for the Far East.”
Hoon says imports have been driven by e-commerce while transhipments are due to the strength of Changi’s connections, with more than 6,800 weekly flights to over 300 cities.
Changi also has its airfreight centre, a 24/7 Free Trade Zone, allowing transhipments to be broken down and reconsolidated with minimal customs formalities.
She says Singapore is well located in the region for exporting perishable countries: “Our strong connections enables our cargo partners to tap into the growth of perishables.”
Changi has been focusing on niche cargo segments such as pharmaceuticals, having joined Pharma.Aero and gaining International Air Transport Association Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (IATA CEIV) certification.
Hoon says this is part of Changi’s strategy to diversify, and it has been investing in because of its strong potential. “Earlier this year we started forming a community of partners to go through the IATA CEIV certification to raise the local pharma handling standards as well as capabilities.”
Pharma.Aero is a “good opportunity” as it allows it to work together and collaborate with other communities with the same vision of an end-to-end lane pharma shipments: “We hope as the first airport in Asia with our community of like minded partners we will be able to work closely and contribute with Pharma.Aero.”
Hoon adds there have been close discussions with the other parties to explore projects. “We are looking to exchange best practices and expertise. There will be more announcements.”
Hoon is expecting the strong growth to continue into 2017, she says Changi is “cautiously optimistic” considering the slow growth in global trade.
New airlines have been added, including six new freighters – AirBridgeCargo Airlines, SilkWay West and Polar Air Cargo, and three regional carriers. Hoon says: “This shows there is still an attractiveness in Changi especially as a freighter destination.”
Changi offers support to airlines such as landing rebates for freighter flights. To cater for the continued growth, Changi will be investing in air cargo and express services as part of Changi East, which will almost double handling capacity.
Hoon says: “This will secure the long-term growth of the cargo and logistics industry in Singapore as well as enhance and strengthen Changi Airport’s air cargo position.”