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40 years of rapid development of my country's air cargo

by:VIPUTRANS     2020-07-20
After the 'Double Eleven' this year, a large number of parcels poured in. The cargo and mail traffic handled by China Southern's Guangzhou domestic cargo station on the same day was about 476 tons, an increase of 30% from usual. In the past few years, Alibaba's 'Double Eleven' initiative has also promoted the rapid development and transformation of aviation logistics in terms of transportation of cargo categories, flows and services.

But 40 years ago, the term 'logistics' was not well known. For a long period of time, my country's air cargo development has been relatively slow, and the infrastructure of various airlines and cargo warehouses in airports is lagging behind. Airlines can only use the remaining tonnage of passenger belly cabins to carry cargo. In 1978, my country's civil air cargo and mail transportation volume was 63,800 tons; in 1998, it increased to 1.4 million tons. It was also in 1998 that China Cargo Airlines Co., Ltd., my country's first airline specializing in air cargo and mail services, was established. Air cargo transportation has changed the passenger-cargo mode of carrying passengers in the belly cabin, and it is truly independent from passenger transportation.


The rapid development of economic globalization has made the world increasingly a 'global village.' Air freight has also become an important support for a region and country to integrate into the global industrial chain, value chain and innovation chain by virtue of its advantages of safety, speed and flexibility. Driven by favorable factors such as China's entry into the World Trade Organization, e-commerce, especially cross-border e-commerce, and the government's introduction of a series of support policies for air cargo, the huge potential of the air logistics market has been tapped. Domestic air transport companies are actively transforming into modern logistics service integrators, domestic private aviation logistics is rapidly emerging, and global express airlines such as FedEx, UPS, TNT and others are coming.

2009 was not only the first year of 'Double Eleven', but also the year SF Express was upgraded to SF Airlines. This year, SF Express purchased two planes at a time, making it the first in China's private air express industry. Four years later, SF Airlines became my country’s fourth largest cargo airline after China Cargo Airlines, China International Cargo Airlines, and Yangtze River Express. Today, SF Airlines has 48 own cargo planes and 13 charter planes, making it the largest cargo airline in China. Like SF Express, as the “cake” of the express delivery industry grew bigger and bigger, China Post (EMS) and Yuantong Express also set foot in the civil aviation industry and established their own logistics airlines.

The 'fast' of 'SF Express' made the former 'big brothers' deeply feel the undercurrent of the competitive landscape. The ever-lost market and the lack of growth in the operating fleet have made the 'big brothers' realize that if they do not seek changes in time, the pattern of the air cargo industry will be changed by more and more SFs. The transformation to an integrated logistics service integrator has become a common choice for air cargo companies.

In 2013, Eastern Airlines Logistics Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines, was established. This company, which includes air transportation, truck transportation, express delivery, logistics and other business sectors, controls all aspects of the upstream and downstream links of the freight service chain, and has begun to take the transformation development path of 'integration of heaven and earth'. A year later, China Eastern Logistics changed the previous year's loss of China Eastern's air cargo business, achieved profitability, and fought a beautiful 'turn over.' In 2016, China Eastern Logistics was spun off from China Eastern Airlines, becoming the first officially signed pilot project for the reform of mixed ownership of central enterprises, and the introduction of 4 new shareholders, including Lenovo Holdings, turned into a capital darling. At the same time, 'big brothers' such as Air China Cargo and China Southern Airlines have also explored new ways of transformation.

From general cargo to express delivery, from air cargo to air logistics, from 'airport to airport' to 'door-to-door', with the airport as the core, the air cargo industry is accelerating its integration into the comprehensive logistics system. Going out of the home and buying all over the world, 'selling the world, buying the world' became a reality. As of the end of October this year, there were 9 freight airlines and 156 freighters in my country. In 2017, domestic airlines carried 61,600 cargo flights; China’s civil aviation cargo and mail traffic reached 7.059 million tons, which is 110 times that of 1978; the global ranking of cargo and mail turnover increased from 35th in 1978 to Now the second place.

Today's China's air cargo market is showing three major trends: logistics, express delivery, and internationalization. The transformation and upgrading of air logistics continue, and integration, pivotalization, and cooperation become the development direction: the use of big data technology to integrate national air cargo The company’s electronic cargo data allows airlines and airports to share cargo information at the same time; the construction of an air cargo hub is accelerating, and China’s first professional cargo hub known as 'China Memphis'-Hubei Ezhou Airport will be put into operation in 2021; The three-segment aviation logistics network development model of 'small drones at the end + large unmanned cargo aircraft at the branch line + large manned aircraft at the trunk line' will become a future development trend of the industry.
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