Aviation & Aerospace

New development agreement sees air freight between China and Bournemouth reaching new heights

Trade delegation from Sichuan Province in China to Bournemouth Airport and Cargo First, hosted by airport owners Regional & City Airports and European Cargo in August this year.

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: October 3, 2023 | Updated: 2nd October 2023

Cargo First, the Bournemouth Airport air freight business has signed a new cargo development agreement, doubling the capacity between China and Bournemouth.

The new agreement follows the successful launch of an eCommerce route between Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) in China and Bournemouth Airport (BOH) in April of this year by Shenzhen Sharing Express Logistic-Tech Ltd, which started out with three flights per week.

Having seen success since taking off, this has doubled to six per week, 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,which included the signing of a cargo development agreement between Sichuan Province Airport Group Company and Regional & City Airports, which owns 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.

A growing proportion of consignments from Chengdu are clearing customs locally, meaning they can bypass Heathrow warehouse entirely.

This is an area with opportunity for growth, too, with more than one million square feet of warehousing development potential on the Cargo First Logistics Park in Bournemouth Airport.

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.”

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