Freight forwarders in Hong Kong are calling on the government to resume land-to-air transhipment of e-cigarette products citing the significant impact of the ban on air cargo volumes moving out of Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics (HAFFA) noted that the city's Legislative Council (LegCo) Panel on Economic Development discussed the proposed amendment to the transhipment of electronic cigarettes on November 28.
"The Hong Kong Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics (HAFFA), believes that in addition to allowing sea-to-air transshipments, Hong Kong urgently needs to resume land-to-air transhipment of e-cigarette products as soon as possible to avoid a further deterioration in the double-digit decline in air export volume seen over the last six consecutive months," HAFFA said in a statement.
HAFFA earlier cited data from its members suggesting that affected e-cigarette cargo is estimated at 330,000 tons per year, which translates to a loss to Hong Kong of approximately 10% of the city's annual export volume by air.
The value of this re-export cargo affected by the ban is estimated to exceed CNY120 billion (US$17.33 billion).
"The government mentioned at the meeting that the authorities intend to first ship e-cigarette products from the Hong Kong International Airport Logistics Park in Dongguan to Hong Kong International Airport via the Sea-Air Transshipment Facilitation Scheme, and then export them overseas," said Gary Lau, HAFFA chairman.
"The overall shipping capacity under this Sea-Air Transshipment Facilitation scheme is only about 4-5% of the demand for electronic cigarette products which is a drop in the ocean. This cannot come close to coping with the huge export volume of electronic cigarettes," Lau added.
The HAFFA chief noted that Dongguan Logistics Park is able to increase the number of scheduled sailings according to demand, but there is still a long way to go compared to the land-to-air transport mode.
"HAFFA earlier submitted a proposed process for the safe transportation of e-cigarette products across borders to the Transport and Logistics Bureau, which is designed to prevent such goods from entering the local black market," Lau said.
"The association remains ready to discuss the details of the plan with the government at any time, and hopes the authorities will implement a trial as soon as possible in order to resume the land-to-air transhipment of e-cigarette products, thereby saving the freight logistics industry and allowing us to restore a valuable sector of the cargo industry," he added.
Established in 1966, HAFFA has now over 320 corporate members.
The organization is responsible for setting industry standards and providing educational courses that enhance the professional standards of freight forwarders and logistics services providers.