Cathay Cargo is looking at a positive start to the year and is seeing more cargo flows on the back of the expected boost from its revamped services as well as the lifting of pandemic restrictions both in Hong Kong and mainland China.
Frank Yau, head of cargo sales - Hong Kong & GBA at Cathay Cargo, noted that it's already been a "good start" to an exciting year, notwithstanding the less-than-rosy global economic picture.
Yau noted Cathay's continued investment in technology and solutions, "pandemic or not", helps future-proof its business and helps position the cargo carrier for future expansion.
"We know that air cargo is a cyclical business, and we are determined to future-proof ourselves and provide the quality and service that our customers expect," he said in a statement, adding that some of the results of these investments are now ready.
"Firstly, this month, we relaunched our brand as Cathay Cargo. This will be our new name as we continue on our path to greater digitalisation and our vision to be the most customer-centric air cargo service provider," Yau said, adding that the new brand is also evident in the new look of the carrier — which will evolve into a "one-stop-shop" for its customers.
More trade flows through Hong Kong
The Cathay Cargo executive added that this month, the air freight carrier would also roll out Cathay Mail — a new mail-as-cargo solution for its post office customers that would give post offices the visibility and reliability they require during the airport-to-airport leg on the back of the higher customer expectations for e-commerce shipments.
It noted that there would also be changes this year to the Cathay Courier solution, following on from the revamped Cathay Pharma solution.
"In business terms, now that the border with the Chinese Mainland has reopened and restrictions on cross-border trucking have been lifted, we are seeing more cargo flowing through Hong Kong," Yau said.
"This is a positive sign for us and for Hong Kong, especially compared to this time last year," he added. "With our freighters fully operational and our passenger belly capacity steadily returning, we are quite optimistic about the tonnage we can carry."
The Cathay Cargo executive noted, however, that overall demand is still "reduced" relative to the same time last year due to the fragile global economy.
"... but recent positive data from the Chinese Mainland means we remain optimistic that we will be able to fill our planes," Yau added.
The new multi-modal Dongguan Logistics Park is also another reason for optimism, according to the Cathay executive.
Under the arrangement, Cathay's Cargo Terminal in Hong Kong will now also operate cargo handling services at the Airport Authority Hong Kong facility in the Greater Bay Area (GBA).
"The agreement enables cargo shipments to be accepted and built up in Dongguan before being transported to Hong Kong International Airport by ship for outbound airfreight, thus opening upstream intermodal export cargo handling between the GBA and our home hub," Yau added.
Boost from Greater Bay Area (GBA) market
Aside from offering more choices, Cathay noted that the initiative also restates the importance of the GBA following the Central Government's policies for its development.
It also brings Cathay's network, handling capacity and efficient services to the doorstep of air cargo customers in the GBA.
Yau said later in 2023, Cathay would also start to look at imports to the GBA, fuelled by the consumption power of its 70 million people.
"We'll tap into the purchasing power of this growth engine, and we foresee a need for all kinds of shipments," he added, as he lauded a progressive Airport Authority that seeks to maintain Hong Kong's top billing for international air cargo.
"With more capacity, a new brand, new solutions and services ... we're looking at a busy start to what has already been an award-winning year — and there's more to come," Yau further noted, referring to the Cargo Airline of the Year award that Cathay won at the recent Air Transport World Airline Industry Achievement Awards.