Incheon International Airport is targeting growth through cooperation with its partners and customers as it highlighted recent developments in the gateway aimed at increasing cargo volumes.
The airport noted that in response to the "rapidly evolving landscape" of the logistics sector — characterized by an increase in the value addition of logistics, the integration of advanced systems, and the proliferation of borderless e-commerce — Incheon International Airport is steadfast in its commitment to enhancing logistics services.
Currently, the Incheon International Airport's Free Trade Zone includes an airport logistics complex and cargo terminal area providing streamlined customs procedures, duty-free benefits, and a variety of incentives.
The cargo terminal houses eight cargo buildings, three air cargo warehouses, four special-purpose processing facilities, and two customs-bonded areas.
The South Korean airport said it is also advancing towards the development of future-oriented cargo terminals and autonomous cargo towing technologies, which is aimed to elevate the efficiency and streamline the operations further and adopt new technologies such as AI and robotics.
Furthermore, Incheon International Airport said plans are underway to support new transportation means, including buses, to supplement the existing transportation facilities.
"Incheon International Airport is diligently working to amplify cargo traffic, with a significant emphasis on supporting sectors witnessing new growth, in a bid to enhance cargo movement volumes," the airport statement said.
The airport recently bagged CEIV certification in perishable goods, pharmaceuticals, and lithium batteries — becoming the world's first to secure the three certifications.
In the perishable goods industry, collaborations are ongoing with organizations such as Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation (aT) and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).
In terms of pharma, the airport is collaborating with top companies like Celltrion and Samsung Biologics to improve the transportation process.
Plans are also underway for a potential collaboration with the Korea Biomedicine Industry Association.
Partnering with global logistics companies
Incheon International Airport noted that part of its efforts to boost cargo growth is strengthening its infrastructure through tie-ups with global logistics companies.
The airport noted that it partnered with Jeju Air on information sessions in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to promote the use of Incheon to around 61 local logistics companies in Vietnam.
It also pledged to grow its collaboration with express giant FedEx.
The gateway said FedEx opened a new cargo terminal at Incheon in October 2022, and representatives from the airport recently met with Richard Smith, president of FedEx, to view the facilities.
Incheon International Airport said Smith "demonstrated considerable interest" in the exceptional air logistics infrastructure and services available at the South Korean hub as it noted plans to "intensify its collaboration" with the express giant.
"With FedEx considering business expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, discussions focused on potential strategies for leveraging Incheon International Airport as a major hub to attract greater air cargo demands," the statement added.
The establishment was created using the BTS (Build-to-Suit) model and is presently leased.
Incheon International Airport said this model involves the airport constructing the cargo terminal while operations are handled by the lessee. This large-scale collaborative project saw investments of 53.5 billion KRW from Incheon International Airport and 40.5 billion KRW from FedEx.
Moreover, the gateway also announced the completion of the DHL cargo terminal expansion last year, marking the commencement of its full-scale operations.
DHL has operated a cargo terminal at Incheon International Airport since 2007. The recent expansion has enlarged the facility to three times its original size, now spanning 58,000 square meters, up from 19,000 square meters.
"Not only has the facility expanded, but it has also integrated modern logistics systems, significantly reducing the time needed to handle import and export cargoes," the airport said.
It added that the number of express cargoes processed per hour has significantly increased from 8,100 to over 20,000, promising to substantially boost cargo throughput at Incheon International Airport.
"Incheon International Airport remains dedicated to continual collaboration with international logistics corporations, striving to augment infrastructure and thereby solidify its position as a pivotal logistics hub in Northeast Asia," said Lee Hak-Jae, president of Incheon International Airport.