Tell me about Cathay Pacific’s cargo operation in India
We operate six ports in India, and all operate both freighter and passenger services. These are Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Hyderabad. Everyone of these has contributed double-digit revenue growth in the first quarter of the year. The most significant export trade lane is to North America, which accounts for around 60 per cent of revenue share via our Hong Kong hub.
How is cargo performing against the same time last year?
India has seen very strong performances both in both tonnage carried and the revenues achieved. Looking at the first quarter, tonnage is up by 45 per cent, and revenues are well over target. India’s contribution to the SAMEA’s cargo revenue is 67 per cent. It’s been an exceptional performance.
Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi are all competing to be the busiest cargo port in India, each exporting more than 2,000 tonnes of cargo in the first quarter, and their import performance is strong too. We have put on extra freighters this year to deal with demand in the first quarter, including 18 into Delhi and nine into Chennai. This was largely driven by imports, but it also presented an opportunity for our sales team to make bookings for the return leg.
What is the breakdown of shipments behind this growth?
Around 66 per cent of the Cargo handled in India is general cargo – products shipped without using our specialised cargo products. The bulk of this comes in the form of garments, electronics and machinery.
In terms of specialised shipments, we handle a lot of perishable exports, which include chilled meat, crab and fish. Our ExpertLIFT product has been one of the exceptional performers, for outsized goods. We have carried 66 cars in the first quarter for the car industry. These tend to be complete cars being sent out by manufacturers for testing. Another big area for us has been aircraft engines – we carried 93 in the first quarter. Our PharmaLIFT product has also performed well, and we have carried 28 high-yielding, temperature-sensitive containers in the same period.
What about e-commerce?
The rest of the world is recording high volumes in e-commerce shipments. It’s an area we are keeping a close eye on but, so far, most of the growth In India has been domestic. We are looking to see how this will open up for international air cargo.