THE Hongkong Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics (HAFFA) has welcomed Cathay Pacific's plan to cut terminal charges but warn that these need to be maintained and called on other airlines to follow suit.
HAFFA's chairman, Brian Wu, said that with Hong Kong Airport's freight continuing to wane and cargo volumes remaining weak, "we would urge Cathay Pacific and the airport authority - and we hope the other airlines who follow their example - to maintain the concession for a longer period in order to help mitigate the high financial costs of compliance with the new ICAO security regulations and proactively reinforce the competitiveness of Hong Kong being the world's busiest cargo airport".
The Cathay Pacific concession on terminal charges, which is being supported by the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) will apply to export shipments from Hong Kong on the group's four airlines: Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, AHK Air Hong Kong and HK Express. A saving of HKD0.30 (US$0.04) per kilogramme for both general and special cargo equates to reductions of between 18 per cent and more than 20 per cent on current charges.
HAFFA said the Hong Kong trading and logistics industry was already facing unprecedented hurdles from a number of developments, including the substantial financial burden brought by the new International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 100 per cent cargo screening policy.
Without referring to the long-standing political unrest in Hong Kong, the association noted that: "More recently, these [hurdles] have been further exacerbated by global economic instability and uncertainty surrounding the China-US trade negotiations, all of which have resulted in continued air cargo throughput decline."