Guangzhou airport looks to become international cargo hub

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GUANGZHOU, July 31 – Guangzhou Baiyun International, China’s third busiest airport after Beijing and Shanghai, is expanding its efforts to become an international air cargo and logistics hub in prosperous South China.

China Daily reported that international logistics companies will play a larger part in reaching the goal, according to Liu Zijing, president of the Guangdong Airport Management Group Co Ltd.

Liu said that the airport would soon introduce a safety and credit cargo agent system to offer better services to companies from around the world.

The airport signed two agreements with international cargo giants late last week. Schenker China Ltd, one of the world’s leading logistics companies, will ship more than 20,000 tons of cargo through the facility from 2007 to 2008, some 5 percent of the airport’s total. Bax Global, part of the new global logistics powerhouse of DB Logistics, said it will also increase its volume. The company is the transportation and logistics arm of Germany’s Deutsche Bahn AG.

International freight carriers have been eyeing Guangzhou’s prime location in the heart of China’s manufacturing region for several years. In early 2005, UPS launched its first non-stop Guangzhou-USA cargo flights and its maiden charter flight took place at the Shenzhen Airport in April, 2005. FedEx signed a contract with Baiyun International to open its Asian Pacific hub, set to be the company’s biggest outside the United States, in 2008.

The FedEx hub, covering a total area of 82,000 square meters, will have a capacity of 179,000 express packages, or more than 1,800 tons per day by the year 2010, connecting its businesses in the Asian Pacific region as well as provide access to its entire network. The hub will add another 600,000 annual tons of cargo at Baiyun International. Initially, FedEx will allocate 20 cargo aircraft at the airport, which will offer 150 cargo flights to handle between 12,000 and 15,000 tons of weekly cargo.

The airport’s international cargo volume reached 76,300 tons in the first five months this year, up 41.5 percent year-on-year according to official statistics. Airport authorities have mapped out an ambitious plan for expansion, with a projected annual volume of more than 60 million passengers and more than 3 million tons projected of cargo expected by 2015. The airport projects that it will handle 75 million passengers and 4 million tons of cargo in 2020.