Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is now the world’s first International Air Transportation Association (IATA) Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Fresh-certified airport. Launch partners in the program include the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), Cathay Pacific, Cathay Pacific Services Limited (CPSL) and Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl).
Standards for the IATA CEIV Fresh program are based on the IATA Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR), and are designed to ensure the safety of perishable food products through standardization of handling and transport operations. The new certification follows IATA’s successful push to improve pharmaceutical shipping standards, CEIV-Pharma, and was launched this week at the World Cargo Symposium in Singapore.
For HKG, the accreditation strengthens its positioning in East Asian cargo markets against regional competitors also preparing to capture emerging perishables trade. The airport has also prepared for increased cargo volumes with plans to expand its runway and construct a new logistics center, which will be serviced by the airport’s increased catchment zone and access to multimodal transit due to the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
IATA has recognized HKG as a partner airport to CEIV Fresh. AAHK said it expects increasing demand for high-end temperature-controlled products, such as perishables and pharmaceuticals, and believes the airport is well positioned to capture the growth. To support efforts related to this cargo, the airport authority is providing additional cool dollies –a total of 30 – for its airport stakeholders and is building apron shelters to protect perishables from weather elements.
Hactl has acquired its CEIV Fresh certification following IATA’s assessment and validation of its facilities and operations in December 2018 and January 2019, respectively. Hactl key staff underwent training by IATA for CEIV Fresh in October 2018, whereupon the ground handler said it made refinements to its terminal and processes.
First, Hactl created a fast-track “Fresh Lane” to minimize time required for unloading and transferring perishables to customers or into temperature-controlled storage. Additionally, Hactl is ensuring perishable cargoes’ safety by implementing adjustments to four critical control points: the use of thermal dollies to maintain optimum temperatures; the segregation of different perishable commodities through dedicated truck docks; the mapping and visual marking of optimum storage positions in its cool rooms; and the installation of dedicated active ULD charging areas.
CPSL, which operates Cathay Pacific’s cargo terminal at HKG, has also attained CEIV Fresh certification, while its parent company, Cathay Pacific, said it is currently working to become the world’s first CEIV-certified airline. Cathay Pacific expects to achieve the certification in May.
Ultimately, the launch of the program at HKG shows the airport and its stakeholders took a community approach to the certification, which could help align the needs and responsibilities of parties involved. Time will tell whether other airports and their stakeholders take the same approach, as standardization of operations and facilities to ensure quality of goods becomes increasingly pertinent.