MAB Kargo tonnage grows in Q1 but it suspends Chongqing freighter

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MAB Kargo chief executive officer, Ahmad Luqman Mohd Azmi (pictured below) says business has been good and riding on the momentum of the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2016 and in Q1 tonnage was up five per cent on Q1 in 2016.

“The restructuring was done back in 2015. Our operations has since been stabilised and we are currently on track to achieve our intended goals and targets,” Azmi says.

He notes the strongest air cargo trade lanes for MAB Kargo are within the Asia Pacific region, where it accounted for 66 per cent of total tonnage in Q1 2017.

Azmi explains: “Besides general cargo, our best performing sectors are dangerous goods, followed by perishables. In Q1 2017, they accounted for 37 per cent and 33 per cent of our total special cargo sector, respectively, within the Asia Pacific region.”

He says the partnership with Silk Way West Airlines, which was penned a little over a year ago, has boosted performance. “We intend to enhance the relationship by adding capacity by Q3 2017.

“This partnership is very beneficial to us, because we have a block space arrangement. It allows us to tap into new destinations and helps to keep our operating costs down.”

Azmi says there are no plans to add the fleet of two Airbus A330 Freighters it has and growth will be through the partnership and expansion of belly capacity of Malaysia Airlines.

The carrier launched new freighter routes to China (Guangzhou and Chongqing) at the end of 2016 and Azmi says the operation into Guangzhou has been performing well, with an average load factor surpassing 90 per cent, but it is putting the Chongqing service on suspension, pending review of its network.

He notes the freighter service to Guangzhou mainly sees perishable seafood and general cargo key exports carried by MAB Kargo.

Azmi says the route network is being expanded and due to the successful partnership with Silk Way, it is adding a third freighter into the European Union and he notes this also allows MAB Kargo to explore capacity into the US with partners.

“Additionally, we are putting in a freighter service to Delhi, effective 17 May. We are also increasing our freighter frequency – five times a week to Shanghai and daily to Hong Kong,” he adds.

Infrastructure will also be developed and MAB’s facility in Kuala Lumpur is designed to handle up to 900,000 tonnes per year, but it is utilising approximately 85 per cent of the design capacity.

Azmi says: “However, we are investing in infrastructure to meet the demand of e-commerce movement within our current facility.”

As for the Malaysian air cargo market in general, Azmi says it is growing at a rate of three per cent while there is an increasing demand for e-commerce – an area MAB Kargo is also focusing on.

“In addition, a logistics hub will be set up at the KLIA Aeropolis, as part of the Digital Free Trade Zone. MAB Kargo intends to tap into this, as we believe it would provide great benefits to us as a cargo carrier,” he adds.