Imports boost Incheon International Airport’s growth

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Incheon International Airport cargo terminal

Incheon International Airport has seen cargo volumes increase by 1.8 per cent to 1.7 million tonnes in 2015 up to August because of a growth in imports of consumer goods.

Imports have increased by 2.9 per cent to 832,379 tonnes, while exports were up by 0.8 per cent to 870,998 tonnes. The airport’s operator, Incheon International Airport Corporation, tells Air Cargo Week (ACW) the imports mainly come from the Americas, South East Asia and Japan, and have been increasing.

Incheon International Airport Corporation director of cargo marketing team, Ok-Soon Han tells ACW she expects international cargo volumes to grow by 2.5 per cent for 2015 as a whole, after years when they were “more or less stagnant” due to the Korean economy slowing. She says: “September to November is peak period for the air cargo industry, we expect the import of consumer goods from [the] Americas and China to Korea will increase.”

Han says that Vietnam has become one of South Korea’s top five trade destinations, joining China, the US, Japan and Hong Kong, overtaking Singapore. She tells ACW: “This trend is expected to continue with the signing of the Korea – Vietnam FTA [free trade agreement] on 5 May 2015.”

Han says express cargo and perishables are areas with potential to grow, having increased by on average 14 per cent and 25 per cent annually over the past three years. She tells ACW: “Although volume in absolute terms is relatively small, rapid increase in such goods is a new source of growth.”

Han says the main exports from Korea continue to be plastic products, wireless communications devices, automobile parts, semi conductors and knitted goods. Imports, she says, continue to be led by grain, machine parts, clothing and plastic products.