NWA Cargo starts trucking service linking Hong Kong and Guangzhou
NWA Cargo this week said it will begin offering express trucking service between Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China, as it the first airline to receive authority to move in-bond trucks between Hong Kong International Airport and Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport, in China's Guangdong province.
The service allows NWA Cargo customers to transport their export freight with only one customs check in Huanggong, instead of stopping at multiple checkpoints along the way is typically required.
The new service is particularly important for NWA, which shifted its South China hub from Hong Kong to Guangzhou.
At the Air Freight Asia conference in Hong Kong Tuesday, NWA Cargo President Jim Friedel explained that the carrier changed hubs because of restrictions on so-called fifth freedom rights, which would allow air services bound for final destinations to pick up cargo in a third nation.
Friedel said Hong Kong refused to allow NWA fifth freedom rights from the United States to Japan, where NWA has its Asia hub. So the carrier moved to Guangzhou when China granted them rights.
'We've continuously pressed for fifth freedom rights,' he said. 'It hurts because Japan is our hub. Some forwarders were hesitant to go through Guangzhou, but 12 pioneering forwarders have taken the leap. Because of them, our relocation has been a success.'
Friedel said the move to Guangzhou, which has seen cargo jump from 500,000 tons handled in 2005 to nearly 800,000 tons in 2006, could also help manufacturers in Guangdong province by providing air service closer to factories.
DHL has also set up a cargo gateway at Guangzhou, which has design capacity of about 2.5 million tons of cargo annually. In comparison, Hong Kong's airport, the biggest pure cargo airport in the world, moved 3.6 million tons in 2006.
As for the new trucking service, NWA officials said it is the first of its kind.
“This new express trucking provides a major breakthrough in our Guangzhou service,” said Tim Strauss, vice president of NWA Cargo, Asia and Europe. “This is the first inter-regional customs cooperation in China.”
Trucks depart Hong Kong International Airport daily at 7 a.m. and arrive in Guangzhou's Baiyun International Airport at 11 a.m. in time to connect to NWA Cargo’s daily outbound flight to Japan with continuing service to the United States. Northwest is working to also establish an express truck service from Guangzhou to Hong Kong for import shipments.