Impulses flow to and fro
Vivien Lau’s roles as executive director of Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) and managing director of Hong Kong Air Cargo Industry Services (Hacis) make her an important player in the world’s largest air cargo hub. ITJ editor Andreas Haug took the opportunity presented by her attendance at Air Cargo Europe for a chat.
How has Hacis developed, Ms Lau, since we met for our last extensive discussion, at Tiaca’s 2014 Air Cargo Forum in Seoul? (See page 47 of ITJ 45-46 / 2014.)
Hacis has two main focal points in its road transport services, as you undoubtedly remember. The first is to continue to expand our network. In 2014 we operated six warehouses in southern China, and added two more last year. We send the cargo from Hong Kong to these eight inland cargo depots in Xiamen, Fuzhou, Shenzhen and Guangzhou airports, in the Guangzhou free-trade zone, in Dongguan Human, Dongguan Liaobu and Guangzhou Nansha, from where consignees collect it.
Whenever we open a new warehouse we also augment it with additional road haulage options. Our five special so-called Superlink express lanes have been designed specifically to link those e-commerce hubs in southern Chinese production centres that we don’t operate ourselves and which don’t have any direct airfreight connections.
What role does online trade play in your business?
This question brings me straight to our second focal point. Two years ago we started an e-commerce centre in Nansha. The Nansha free trade zone supports our business model, and we augment it through our special services there. We transit all cargo in this segment from Hong Kong airport to the new warehouse, where we offer added-value services, such as re-packaging and the like.
Recent changes to China’s trade policies mean that a certain degree of flexibility has been called for over the past two years. But we make sure that we never stop learning. Our strong focus on e-commerce has proven fully justified.
What are your plans for the immediate future?
We expect the opening of the new Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau bridge in spring 2018 to trigger a major trading boom in the Pearl River Delta. To this end we’re set to open another new warehouse in Zhuhai this year. We already have a project team working on this undertaking.
At the end of last year Hactl CEO Mark Whitehead underlined the great importance of your employees to the group’s overall development (see page 36 of ITJ 49-52/2016). What is your general assessment of the latest progress in local / Chinese / Asian markets?
We’re very satisfied with the positive developments in the markets since the fourth quarter of last year. Intra-Asian trade in particular is doing well, and we expect it to continue to fare well in the near-term future. On top of this the volume of goods traded on routes between Hong Kong and the USA and Europe is also rising.
You regularly attend the Munich trade fair – what’s different this year?
The industry is radiating optimism; to an extent that I’ve never experienced before. Hactl and Hacis will make the best of this upbeat mood.