HKIA expansion vital, says DHL
DHL believes that the proposal to expand Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to include three runways is crucial if the airport is to meet the territory’s future need for cargo capacity and remain economically competitive. In 2010, HKIA overtook Memphis to become the world’s busiest cargo hub as a result of surging exports from China and the Pearl River Delta, with cargo volumes up 23.1% year-on-year to 4.17 million tons.
According to the Airport Authority of Hong Kong, HKIA cargo volume will almost double to 8.9 million tons by 2030. DHL Express has seen throughput growth of more than 500% since the company invested in the DHL Central Asia Hub at HKIA in 2000. Last year, DHL Global Forwarding saw total airfreight volumes almost return to pre-recession highs, with exports continuing to make up the lion’s share. As a result of expected growth in the region, DHL is investing in Centres of Excellence in Hong Kong dedicated to the fashion & apparel, life science and retail sectors to provide excellence in logistics for global and local customers.
Kelvin Leung, CEO for North Asia Pacific at DHL Global Forwarding, said: "While Hong Kong currently outperforms its population size on the world stage because of its connectivity, this could change if infrastructure fails to keep pace with growth. For example, if HKIA is unable to open new destinations, expand flight frequencies or maintain schedules during bad weather or emergencies because it does not have enough runways, Hong Kong will suffer economically as logistics providers and companies will have to reroute or rethink their supply chains."
Leung pointed out that not only does Hong Kong have a vital hub role to play as an export point for China, but imports are set to soar too. "With Asia’s consumers expected to increase their spending from US$4.3 trillion in 2008 to US$32 trillion annually by 2030 – equal to some 43% of global consumer spending by then, imports into Asia are expected to soar with the people of Hong Kong and China demanding more and better consumer goods from around the globe."
With IATA forecasting that the Hong Kong passenger market will grow by 6.7% a year from 45 million international in 2009 to 62.2 million in 2014, and airfreight expected to grow from 3 million tonnes in 2009 to 5.3 million tonnes by 2014, the airport is growing faster than any other in the world at a rate that is accelerating.
Built in 1992 to handle 87 million passengers and 9 million tonnes of cargo, HKIA is currently estimated to be operating at 93% capacity, and will reach saturation by 2017. HK airport authority has said the HKIA’s two runways will run out of capacity by 2020.