The rise of China’s second tier freight airlines


SYDNEY (Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation) - Recent investment by foreign carriers in China's smaller airlines to capture a slice of the Mainland's burgeoning freight market has significant implications for airports in the region.

This year's downward trend in Taiwan's cargo volume is attributed to continued relocation of Taiwanese manufacturers' production facilities to the Mainland, which is damaging Taiwan's exports. Shanghai has recently overtaken Taipei in terms of monthly freight volumes, as demand continues to surge on the back of rapid growth rates, increased foreign investment in production facilities in and around Shanghai and increasing market access for domestic and foreign carriers (which the CAAC may further liberalise later this year).

Meanwhile, the US express freight specialists, UPS and FedEx, are pressing ahead with major investments in facilities in the Mainland (Shanghai and Guangzhou respectively), but their partners are increasingly no longer airlines or local cargo firms, but airports.

This will increase the challenge to Hong Kong and its key freight operators, while the new Jade Cargo International (which just ordered six B747-400 Freighters) based in Shenzhen, has the backing of the powerful Lufthansa Cargo. This will heighten the competitive impact for Hong Kong, as shippers will have increasing options out of Shenzhen.

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