Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates Airline, has launched a weekly air cargo service between Dubai and Phnom Penh, becoming the third dedicated cargo carrier to serve the Cambodian market.
The freight carrier is using an MD11 freighter aircraft with a cargo payload capacity of 80 tonnes on the one-weekly flights, it said in a press release yesterday.
“Cambodia’s air cargo market is growing at a robust rate with Europe and the United States being key export markets,” said Hiran Perera, senior vice president of Emirates SkyCargo.
“Establishing a presence in this market will position Emirates SkyCargo to benefit from the healthy growth potential.”
Cambodia was one of just a handful of countries that reported growth in air cargo traffic last year as other regions saw shipments decline on the back of a slowdown in the world’s largest economies.
Total air freight shipments to and from Cambodia exceeded 38,000 tonnes in 2015, a 14 per cent year-on-year increase, according to Khek Norinda, communications and PR director of Cambodia Airports, the company that manages the Kingdom’s three international airports.
While the pace of air cargo traffic growth is expected to slow this year, Cambodia Airport’s latest forecast pegs it at about 5 per cent annual growth in 2016, or 40,000 tonnes.
“[The projection] is based on flight slots requested by carriers – commercial ones and carriers dedicated to cargo – and figures reported for the first three months of the year,” Norinda said.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Raya Airways told the Post that the Malaysian cargo carrier had recently added twice-weekly service to Phnom Penh. Raya is using a Boeing 727-200 with a cargo payload capacity of 22 tonnes to transport goods between Cambodia and Malaysia, she said.
Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific Cargo, which in November 2014 became the first dedicated cargo carrier to operate regular service to Cambodia, has reported strong demand for cargo services during its first full year of service.
The freight carrier operates a Boeing 747 with 120-tonne payload capacity on its twice weekly flights between Hong Kong and Phnom Penh.
Jansen Stafford, country manager for Cathay Pacific, said the main cargo on its freight flights into the Cambodian capital was raw materials for the country’s vibrant garment industry.
“We also bring in pharmaceuticals and have room for 20-foot pallets, so we can bring in cars,” he said, adding that the number of vehicle deliveries had picked up in recent months.
“The main export in any cargo here is garments,” he continued. “Cathay Pacific also exports specialty products such as live fish and fresh fruit, and we have the only dangerous goods licence in Cambodia.”
Last year, Cathay Pacific Cargo delivered 3,400 tonnes of goods from Cambodia to its hub in Hong Kong, he said. Much of this cargo was destined for consumer markets in Japan and North America.
“Garments drive a lot of the growth,” said Stafford, adding that the cargo carrier would consider expanding its service if demand continued to rise.