Air Cargo China Sets New Record

Last week's Shanghai-held trade show Air Cargo China, the seventh of its kind, seems to have established itself as a leading exhibition in the cargo industry in the Far East. This was shown by the record attendance of both visitors and exhibitors that's flocked Hall E1 at Shanghai's New International Expo Center where the ACC was held. During the 3 day event a number of interesting company announcements were made, which we present here in this overview.

Gerhard Gerritzen of ACC organizer Messe Muenchen  -  picture hs
Gerhard Gerritzen of ACC organizer Messe Muenchen - picture hs

The bi-annual held trade show reports an increase in exhibitors of 22 percent, totaling 600 companies that waved their flags at the show. Organized by Messe Muenchen, their management board member Gerhard Gerritzen outlined in his opening remarks the growing number of international firms stepping into the Chinese market and gaining a foothold there.
Companies that had booked stands include Turkish Airlines Cargo, Cargolux Airlines, AirBridgeCargo, Air Cargo China, Emirates Sky Cargo, Brussels Airport, Liege Airport, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, ULD manager Jettainer, Air Asia, Maastricht Airport and many others. This was complemented by a remarkable number of international forwarding agents like DB Schenker for instance that presented their companies and products at booths set up in neighboring halls.

Remarkable news
At the show, Russian freight carrier AirBridgeCargo informed about the launch of twice weekly services to Chonqing in central China. The flights are linked with ABC's Shanghai services while returning from PVG to Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport. Chonqing has become ABC's sixth destination in mainland China.

Cargolux closed in on their goal to start operating their Zhengzhou, China-based offspring Cargolux China by the end of 2017, commencing services with 3 Boeing 747 freighters. The newcomer's network will span from China to North America and include flights to Australia (Melbourne) as well as intra Asian services in the first stage. Cargolux will hold 35 percent in the upcoming JV, costing them USD 77 million.  

Uli Ogiermann, helmsman at Qatar Airways Cargo announced the launch of their new product "QR Live" for animal transportation. The manager indicated that his carrier will further differentiate its product portfolio by introducing additional special services in the coming months, but did not deliver specifics. He also said that later this year, QR Cargo plans to add Guangzhou to the freighter network by serving the Chinese city three times a week.

ULD manager Jettainer and Leipzig/Halle Airport announced setting up a station at the East German airport where carriers can lease containers and other unit load devices on short notice from one day to various months. "Our new base location complements our current network of JettLease station in an ideal männer." By taking this step "we are responding to the growing demand for flexible loading equipment solutions at times of peak demand for ad hoc operation," explained Jettainer's MD Carsten Hernig at the Shanghai-held trade show. In addition, the manager presented Spanish airline Plus Ultra Lineas Aereas as a new customer, whose ULD business his company will take care of. The Madrid-headquartered carrier, which operates Airbus A340-300s, serves Lima, Peru and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Next on the agenda stand flights to Cuba, Panama and Costa Rica and in mid-term to some Asian destinations. Sales Director Thorsten Riekert of Jettainer said that the acquisition is fully in line with his company's strategy to support the growth of smaller airlines right from the start.

Finally, French general sales agent European Cargo Service (ECS) has won two new clients in the German market - Malaysia Airlines and DHL Aviation. COO Adrien Thominet told CargoForwarder Global that his group is already successfully cooperating with DHL in a number of other local markets, increasing the integrator's turnover this way. "We know each other already quite well which will help to achieving positive results in Germany fast, we expect."

Before the event ended last Thursday afternoon, we asked some ACC attendees if the show was worth coming and what their main impressions are they carry back home.

Halit Anlatan, VP Cargo, Turkish Airlines Cargo:
Compared with the previous shows back in 2010 or 2014, I personally believe Air Cargo China attracted less attendees this time. Nevertheless, the show offers us a stage to meet up with many Far Eastern clients of Turkish Airlines Cargo, because quite a number of them flocked to Shanghai to participate in the three-day trade show.
However, comparing Air Cargo China with the Munich-held Air Cargo Europe I notice quite some differences. This show here in China attracts predominantly regional players, whereas MUC is a truly international trade fare.
Given the opportunity, I would like to criticize one minor point that hopefully will be noticed by the organizers: To be able to get Internet access during the 3 days of the event we had to pay 500 dollars. This must be seen against the background that we already pay a lot for our TK stand. Therefore, I recommend for future shows to include the WiFi charges in the price or - even better - enable exhibitors Internet access without demanding any additional cash.

Ulrich Ogiermann, Head of Cargo, Qatar Airways Cargo:
I've never attended Air Cargo China before, so it's the first time for me to get a personal impression. Our main aim as Qatar Airways Cargo is to give our people the opportunity to meet managers of local forwarding agents. So we organized a get-together of agents and our people to deepen ties or establish new business relations.
I heard from some of the exhibitors that this year's Air Cargo China is a bit less frequented than similar shows in the past. But for us this is not so important because we are offered a platform to meet the industry.
You are asking if the trade show was worth its money. That's hard to say if measured solely on financial terms because this would be only a very limited interpretation that doesn't take into account the relations established with our clients which could become very beneficial one day.

Steven Polmans, Head of Cargo, Brussels Airport:
To me it was worth coming here. This year's Air Cargo China was an improvement in comparison to the shows held before. We've been meeting the people we wanted to see. That's often been a problem in the past. What's really different this time is that we've seen a very limited number of Chinese tourists at the show, whose only motive was to collect as many giveaways as possible.
Generally speaking, I find that we are too friendly to each other, circumventing in panels and conferences critical and controversial issues that need to be tabled to push our industry forward.
For future air freight shows I strongly recommend a more conflict driven style in order to realistically face the pressing problems of our industry.
Fact is that we more or less are working the same way we did 4 years ago.
Another issue worth to be critically mentioned is that the main Chinese cargo operators didn't attend the fair. In fact, Air China Cargo was the only major player running an own booth here at the Air Cargo China Hall. China Eastern and China Southern only took part in the SkyTeam Cargo group's stand, while others like the HNA group with all-cargo carrier Yangtse River Express obviously preferred to set up their stands at other halls at Pudong’s exhibition center.
For upcoming ACC shows it would be beneficial if organizer Messe Muenchen would copy-paste their successful MUC concept. The result would be that twice as many companies would show up here, particularly Chinese and Asian cargo carriers.

Heiner Siegmund

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