Date: 03.09.2019

Hong Kong X-ray costs and delay fears

Starting in November (UPDATE: NOW JANUARY 2020), in phased deadlines set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, 100% of all air freight shipments from Hong Kong International Airport must be X-ray screened by March 2021.

Shippers using Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) could see cost increases and disruption to cargo shipments after the world’s busiest air cargo hub begins to X-ray air freight shipments from the airport in November, with 25% of air freight subject to X-ray by February 2020.

This will increase to 40% by August 2020, 70% by February 2021, and 100% by March 2021.

The phased roll-out is ambitious and there are fears that shortages of screening capacity and trained staff could cause lengthy cargo delays, creating bottlenecks at busy times, which will impact efficiency.

We are investigating reports that the cutoff for delivering cargo would be six to eight hours before scheduled departure time, which compares with a current cutoff of under four hours before departure.

Metro’s cut-off times are already good, because we predominantly use off-airport screening facilities for palletised and skid cargo, that must be built up after items have been scanned.

We have been also using Shenzhen and Guangzhou as gateways for some time, particularly when HKIA is struggling during peak periods and may consider diverting more volumes, if cut-off times are not favourable.

On-airport air freight terminals have capacity to screen less than 20% of current cargo volumes, so we anticipate a sharp increase in the number of regulated off-airport air cargo screening facilities, but these may take some time to come on stream.

Under the ICAO plan, consignors will either have to be approved by CAD as a validated known consignor or be an “unknown consignor” and have their cargo subject to 100% security screening prior to being loaded aboard aircraft.

CAD has limited resources to validate known consignors. We can advise on the best option for achieving validation of your vendors, or effective screening, if validation is not possible.