Cathay Cargo is seeing very encouraging demand out of Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area (GBA) against a backdrop of continuing market uncertainty moving into the peak season.
James Evans, Cathay Cargo's new general manager for Cargo Commercial, said the current air cargo market remains uncertain as it faces weaker consumer confidence and global economic pressures despite much of the capacity restored following the massive disruptions from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite this, he noted that there are reasons for optimism and the airline, in response, was increasing freighter capacity on the transpacific route.
"These past few years have seen very strong cargo revenues, but set against operating in one of the most challenging times for air cargo and Hong Kong, with the backdrop of a pandemic that hopefully we will never experience again," Evans said in a recent statement.
"Despite all this, there is much to be positive about."
"We are now into the traditional peak period, and we're seeing very encouraging demand out of our home market of Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area (GBA), in particular to North America, which is being driven largely by e-commerce," he added.
Increased freighter services to North America
In response to these encouraging signs, the new general manager for cargo said the carrier is introducing additional capacity for the trade.
"We have added more weekly freighter services to North America, and we're seeing healthy demand from there as well," Evans said.
"We are fortunate to have an excellent network, and the perishables season will be starting soon in the southern hemisphere — including lobsters and fruit — and Beaujolais nouveau exports are just around the corner," he added.
Nonetheless, Evans acknowledged that the peak season this year won't be as pronounced as last year — citing different market environments.
"We don't expect the peak will match last year — the market is very different from a year ago, as all our customers have been conveying to us — but we're feeling optimistic and continuing with our plans for five more weekly transpacific services per week from this month," he said.
In its bid to be the world's most customer-centric air cargo service brand, the Cathay Cargo executive noted that the carrier recently received its CEIV Lithium Batteries accreditation, which adds to the company's existing safety protocols to ensure the safe shipment of goods in the growing e-commerce segment.
Evans also noted Cathay Cargo's support for the development of the HKIA Logistics Park in Dongguan — finishing a trial on multi-modal shipments from Dongguan for export from Hong Kong, among other initiatives to boost its air cargo operations.