Malaysia has launched a plan to develop the area around Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang into a new aviation hub. The 100-square-kilometre development, called KLIA Aeropolis, is expected to bring together three clusters - air cargo and logistics, aerospace and aviation services, and meetings and convention facilities - and drive Malaysia's vision of becoming a global leader in creating airport cities.
The Aeropolis plan, excluding airport terminal operations and expansion, is estimated to attract a gross domestic product contribution of about RM30 billion (US$7.3 billion) with 56,000 jobs
created over a 15-year period, said Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) managing director Badlisham Ghazali at the recent launch of the project.
"While KLIA's past cargo growth rates had been in the low single digits, we had recorded high growth in specific cargo segments, namely 33% in express cargo and 102% in mail cargo volume, since 2010. This is aligned with the global trend of e-commerce, where the market in Southeast Asia is expected to grow by five times to US$35 billion by 2018," he added.
Cargo plays the first fiddle
The airport operator has meanwhile signed five strategic partnership agreements, four of which are for the air cargo and logistics cluster, namely DRB Hicom Bhd, Raya Airways Sdn Bhd, AirAsia Bhd and Vanderlande Industries BV.
The agreement with DRB Hicom is for the development of additional 450,000 sq ft to conduct cargo operations at the Cargo Terminal (former LCCT site) while Raya Airways' agreement is for the tenancy of 200,000 sq ft at Cargo Terminal. The latter will team up with Dnata and collaborate with DHL Express.
AirAsia will develop its regional distribution centre at Cargo Terminal for Redbox, its low-cost express courier and parcel delivery services while Netherlands' Vanderlande will explore the setting up of a regional distribution centre for the management and distribution of spare parts for baggage handling systems in Malaysia.
Rapid growth of air freight expected
Malaysian transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said at the Aeropolis launch that Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) aims to double the annual volume of air cargo handled by 2026 from the 726,000 tonnes a year today, with a longer-term target of 2.5 million to three million tonnes by 2050.
"More importantly, the National Logistics Taskforce (NLTF) is looking at the bottleneck in approval time and facilitate a one-stop centre at the air cargo side. All these will be in line with the needs of the logistics sector," Datuk Liow stated.
One of the initiatives under the NLTF's master plan is to reduce the approval time for cargo to be dispatched, which is sometimes caused by paper work.
"We are trying to reduce paper work and go online. For example, if it takes four days to clear the cargo, it could be reduced to two days or maybe even one day. We are coming up with online applications for all cargo and we are trying to make it easier for containers and air cargo to be shipped in or flown out, in the shortest possible time," Datuk Liow said.
Nol van Fenema