Hong Kong International Airport reports 8% traffic slip
It’s never a good thing when an industry leader takes a tumble. For the global air freight business, Hong Kong International Airport is seen as a bellwether for the industry, but a poor October has cast doubt over the air cargo industry.
Hong Kong saw cargo volumes plummet 8.2 percent from the same month a year ago despite airlines projecting a surge in peak season shipping. That didn’t happen, however, as the world’s largest cargo airport reported little to raise the hopes within the airline community.
Much of Hong Kong International Airport’s struggling cargo volumes stem from diminished trade from southern China. A declining demand from the United States and Europe hurt air cargo volume, while flooding in Thailand had an adverse impact on the industry, according to Airport Authority Hong Kong CEO Stanley Hui Hon-chung.
Imports and transshipments didn’t fare much better in October, as they fell by 8 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
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Hong Kong International Airport’s October struggles aren’t anything new to the air freight industry, however. According to HKIA, Europe, North America, Chinese Mainland and Taiwan all experienced double-digit decreases in traffic volume compared to last year.
There is a glimmer of hope for the industry, however. Hong Kong International Airport did experience a slight bump in business from a monthly standpoint, as its October volumes were a 5 percent increase over September’s numbers.
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany