Bournemouth Airport’s Cargo First air freight business has announced a doubling of capacity between Bournemouth and China and the signing of a new cargo development agreement following the successful launch of an e-commerce route earlier this year.
Shenzhen Sharing Express Logistic-Tech Ltd started the first all-cargo route between Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) in China and Bournemouth Airport (BOH) in April with three flights per week.
But following the success of the route that has already doubled to six flights per week (from week commencing 18th September), equating to a capacity of more than 20,000 tonnes per year. The service is operated by Bournemouth-based European Cargo using its fleet of all-cargo A-340 wide-bodied freighters, each with a capacity of 76 tonnes.
The growing importance of the route as an e-commerce gateway was underlined by a reciprocal trade mission between Sichuan Province and Bournemouth in August. This included the signing of a cargo development agreement between Sichuan Province Airport Group Company and Regional & City Airports (owner of Bournemouth Airport).
This aims to build ‘Chengdu-Bournemouth’ as a dual hub co-operation platform between Chengdu and Europe, providing a stable logistics channel for the import and export of e-commerce goods.
Cargo First is also seeing a growing proportion – around 30% – of consignments from Chengdu clearing customs locally in Bournemouth and bypassing Heathrow warehouses altogether for onward travel in the UK. And with over one million square feet of warehousing development potential on the Cargo First Logistics Park at Bournemouth Airport, there is ample scope for growth.
Bournemouth Airport managing director Steve Gill, said:
“Doubling capacity on the Chengdu route is a huge vote of confidence in Bournemouth as an e-commerce gateway to the UK. Our combination of location, no slot constraints, flexibility and speed, plus European Cargo’s growing fleet capacity, is a winning combination.
“We were delighted to welcome a delegation from Sichuan Province to Bournemouth recently and to see the operation in Chengdu, where we signed our co-operation agreement. With more than 20,000 tonnes of capacity on the route we also see growing opportunities for UK producers shipping goods to China.”
European Cargo’s chief executive David Kerr added:
“We are delighted that the ability for ECL to deploy scale capacity over extended global markets, with reliability and value, has allowed our customer to place their trust in our new and unique freighter proposition. But the journey is also about the partnerships on the ground in Bournemouth and Chengdu, that deliver a comprehensive and differentiated solution. As we expand our converted fleet beyond the current four aircraft to 10 over the next 18 months, we aim to grow with our partners and their respective shipper and consignee customers."
Both Bournemouth Airport and Cargo First are part of the UK’s privately-owned Regional and City Airports (RCA) group, which also owns Coventry Airport, Exeter Airport and Norwich Airport. RCA also operates the XLR Executive Jet Centre FBO facilities at Birmingham, Bournemouth, Exeter and Liverpool airports