Premium cargo including e-commerce and pharmaceuticals are expected to remain the key drivers of growth at Changi Airport, managing director air hub development, Lim Ching Kiat (pictured below) tells Air Cargo Week.
The airport saw strong growth in 2016, hitting 1.97 million tonnes with volumes increasing 6.3 per cent, with improvements from all areas, with pharmaceutical and perishable throughput up seven per cent and 14 per cent respectively.
In 2016 it beat the previous record of 1.91 million tonnes seen in 2006, helped by two new freighter airlines, Silk Way West and Neptune Air, and the return of K-Mile Air.
2017 has also started well, up 3.9 per cent to 305,560 tonnes and Lim remains optimistic it will be a good year despite the uncertain political and economic outlook.
He says: “We are optimistic that sectors such as e-commerce, aerospace and pharmaceuticals will continue to grow and be amongst the key drivers for Changi Airport’s cargo throughput.”
“To position ourselves for this growth, we will also continue to work with our airline partners to strengthen our strategic links and deepen our connectivity across the world.”
Premium products are very important, Lim explains: “Focusing on these special cargo segments allows Changi Airport and our stakeholders to not only diversify our cargo base against the cyclical movement of the airfreight industry, but also allow the stakeholders to handle more high yielding cargo volumes.”
Changi has undergone International Air Transport Association Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (IATA CEIV) certification and joined the Pharma.Aero association.
It is the first airport community in Asia Pacific to undergo the certification where at least one company from each mode is certified, and since then Singapore Airlines Cargo and Global Airfreight International have also gained IATA CEIV.
Lim says: “Pharmaceutical shippers can ship their products through Singapore with the highest handling standards. Moving forward, we will progressively be working with more cargo partners in our community to attain the IATA CEIV Pharma certification.”
Joining Pharma.Aero also gives Changi a chance to learn from other members, Lim says: “Changi Airport looks forward to taking lead and participating in some of these projects and applying the key learnings with our air cargo community so as to ensure that we remain as a relevant, trusted and reliable hub for pharmaceuticals handling.”
There are other developments, SATS’ eCommerce AirHub is due to open this month, integrating SATS and SingPost operations under one roof. Further into the future, the Changi East Industrial Zone will be developed for airfreight, express and MRO by the late 2020s.