The launch of Virgin Australia’s daily Melbourne-Hong Kong services on 12 November was designed to meet growing demand for cargo capacity on the route, according to Virgin Atlantic Cargo, which provides long-haul international cargo sales and management for Virgin Australia. Volumes have been increasing steadily in both directions since Virgin Australia commenced five Airbus A330-200 flights a week in July. The extra capacity provided by the new daily service will support the peak perishables season ex Australia as well as thriving e-commerce and courier business from Hong Kong. Virgin Atlantic Cargo has generated over 1,200 tonnes of freight and courier traffic since the route began. Regular shipments have included garments, shoes, electronics goods, vitamins, milk powder and meat. The appointment in August of Jarrod Paterson as account manager in Melbourne has also helped the airline develop other lines of business, such as shipments of fresh lobster, Abalone and chilled salmon from Tasmania to Hong Kong. Continued inward business investment in Melbourne is also expected to help sustain long-term cargo demand. Amazon is one of the latest global brands to announce fresh investment in the state of Victoria with its plans for a 24,000 square metre e-commerce distribution centre in Melbourne. Pip Palmer, Virgin Atlantic’s Regional Sales Manager, Australia and New Zealand, said: “Cargo volumes to and from Melbourne have exceeded our expectations so far. There are a series of positive business indicators that show not only a consistent level of demand from our current customers but also opportunities for new traffic like we have started to generate from Tasmania.” Virgin Atlantic, which has provided long-haul international sales for Virgin Australia since 2009, also sells capacity on Virgin Australia’s operations from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Los Angeles. Shipments to and from Australia can also connect with its global network over both Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Freight volumes have been increasing steadily in both directions since Virgin Australia commenced five Airbus A330-200 flights a week in July.
Sydney company FreightExchange is looking to take its online freight capacity marketplace overseas, with support from the NSW Government. John Barilaro, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, Small Business and Skills, said the company, which received a $98,000 Building Partnerships Grant from the private sector–led, NSW government–backed ‘Jobs for NSW’ program, had grown 587 per cent in 2015/16, with revenue of more than $1 million and over 800 carriers and 1,700 shippers on its books. “FreightExchange is a great example of a clever company developing technology to make NSW more efficient while creating jobs and growing the economy,” said Barilaro. “Former management consultant and FreightExchange founder and CEO Cate Hull saw the massive amount of under-utilised capacity of trucks on Australian roads and she knew she was on to something. “This smart online platform uses GPS tracking to take advantage of unused capacity on long-haul freight by connecting shippers with carriers and allowing them to instantly book their freight, get a price and get it moving. “The company, which now has 12 staff and focuses on long-haul trucking, has developed apps which allow companies big and small to plug directly into the system to match unused capacity with freight orders instantly. “After building the company from scratch, Cate is now hoping to take the company global, with a pilot set for New Zealand this month and plans to expand to Shenzhen, Singapore and Hong Kong,” Barilaro added. Hull said the Jobs for NSW Building Partnerships grant had been a huge help in growing the business. “To big businesses it might sound like a small amount but to us it was significant,” she said. “We used the Jobs for NSW grant to build the product, but also to deal with the growing pains of a small company – the team has close to doubled in the past year. “The more we can drive efficiency the better it is for NSW. The dream is to create a platform that in future orchestrates self-driving trucks and automates the buying of selling and freight capacity internationally – a global platform,” Hull said.
From 5 July, Virgin Atlantic Cargo will be adding a new Melbourne–Hong Kong route, to be operated by its partner, Virgin Australia, The Loadstar reports. There will be five A330-200 flights per week once the route is launched, with each offering 14 tonnes of cargo capacity. All cargo space on the flights will be sold by Virgin Atlantic Cargo as an extension of the long-haul international sales contract it has with Virgin Australia. John Lloyd, Managing Director, Virgin Atlantic Cargo, said, “This is great news for our customers because it really opens up the Australia–Hong Kong–Australia market in addition to the services we already offer with Virgin Australia that connect Australia and the US west coast. “Hong Kong is an important and growing market for companies in Australia, with over 21.5 million kilograms of air cargo moving from Melbourne to Hong Kong alone in 2016. “We are confident of winning a good share of this business and also see great potential to grow volumes into Melbourne from Hong Kong and London.”
DHL Global Forwarding, provider of air, sea and road freight services in Europe and Asia, has appointed Mark Slade as Managing Director of Hong Kong and Macau. Slade has been for the organisation for 14 years, until recently serving as Managing Director of Japan. In that role, Slade delivered record financial performance, and also receive the highest internal accolade for corporate responsibility – Deutsche Post DHL CEO Award 2012 for Living Responsibility – for his role in leading the company’s aid efforts after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and remaining in Japan to maintain staff morale in the aftermath of the disaster. While in the role, Slade also established the Japan Power Network, a global forum for overseas Japanese sales professionals to support one another in business development and finding local support, and he has also been the Chairman of Japan’s Logistics and Freight Committee for the European Business Council since 2012. “In his six years leading our operations in Japan, Mark showed a care for the entire market that went well beyond simply doing business,” said Steve Huang, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Greater China. Slade commented, “Our successes in Japan stem from the steadfast commitment of our team to literally going the extra mile for both our customers and the communities we operate in, and I believe our customers can anticipate even greater results in the years ahead.”
Chinese private logistics company SF Express plans to build Asia’s largest air cargo centre, reaching areas responsible for 80 per cent of the country’s GDP within two hours, including Beijing and Shanghai. The logistics industry in China is booming thanks to the popularity of e-commerce sites such as Taobao. According to the state-owned Xinhua News Agency more than 250 million people used courier services each day in 2016. SF Express has announced that they intend to build an airport in Ezhou city, Hubei province, in central China by 2025. The facility will be designed to handle more than 2.6 million tonnes of freight and 1.5 million passengers, making it the world’s fourth busiest airport. $100 million yuan ($19 million) has been invested in the venture by SF Airport Investment – 40 million yuan ($7.7 million) – and China VAST Industrial Urban Development Company – 60 million yuan ($11.6 million). Late last year, SF Airport Investment invested 470 billion yuan ($90 billion) in China VAST. SF Express, the largest private courier in China, was founded in 1993 and began building its own fleet in 2009. As of late last year, the company owned a fleet of 36 aircraft, the Asia Times reports. Charles Wang Guowen, director of the Center for Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the China Development Institute, told English-language Beijing based newspaper China Daily back in 2015 of the congestion experiences due to increasing passenger and cargo volumes. The congestion is not only at the airport, but also in the sky,” he said. At the 2015 China Civil Aviation Development Forum, held in Beijing, Li Sheng, president of SF Airlines, a subsidiary of SF Express, said: “All of the more than 200 airports on the mainland are designed mainly for passengers. The need for express delivery and cargo is of lesser consideration,” he said. “Leading global express delivery companies must have such a national or even global air hub. It will increase the company’s overall efficiency and utilisation ratio of its aircraft.”
Australian telecommunications and media company Telstra reportedly has to divert captains of up to 50 container ships per month found to be travelling in close proximity to its subsea cable infrastructure paths. Darrin Webb, Executive Director, International Operations & Services and Managing Director, Northeast Asia, Telstra Corporation Limited has released an official blog posting sharing the efforts the company must go to in order to protect its underwater connectivity. According to Webb, the container ports of Singapore and Hong Kong, two of the world’s busiest and shallowest, regularly keep Telstra’s cable maintenance team busy. “Unfortunately, the combination of heavy traffic from big commercial vessels, shallow water and the sheer number of cables that connect to landing stations around these ports, does not bode well for our cables.” In order to avoid damage, Telstra’s maintenance team monitors the location of each container ship in relation to their cables through the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS). The AIS provides information on each vessel, such as their unique identification number, position, course, and speed. “If a ship gets too close, our team will make a call to the captain so they can adjust their course. On average, our team contacts 30 – 50 container ships a month,” Webb said.