Malaysia Airports Holdings plans to double air cargo volumes by 2026

KLIA Aeropolis concept masterplan
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Over the next ten years, Malaysia Airports Holdings will work towards its aim of doubling the volume of air cargo it handles each year.

By 2026, MAHB hopes to turn annual volumes of 726,000 tonnes of cargo into nearly 1.5m tonnes, catching up with Singapore's 1.8m tonne turnover. The group has also set a longer term goal of reaching between 2.5m and 3m tonnes by 2050 – a goal it intends to achieve with the development of 100 square kilometres of land surrounding Kuala Lumpur airport into an aviation hub, intended to serve the air cargo, logistics and aerospace industries, called KLIA Aeropolis.

On May 23, Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, told reporters at the launch of KLIA Aeropolis: "We are quite a big region and we'll definitely do well in the air cargo side because we are creating more facilities, putting up more plans and support systems. More importantly, the National Logistics Taskforce is looking at the bottleneck in approval time and facilitating a one-stop centre at the air cargo side. All these will be in line with the needs of the logistics sector."

Liow Tiong Lai added that one of the initiatives under the NLTF's master plan is to minimise the approval time for outgoing cargo, which is sometimes delayed by paperwork. "We are trying to reduce paper work and go online,” he commented, going on to say that they aim to reduce the current four-day cargo clearance time to two days, or even one, adding that the organisation is developing online cargo applications with a view to simplifying and accelerating the entire process.

Yon May 22, the airport operator signed five strategic partnership agreements and intents, four with the air cargo and logistics cluster, namely DRB-HICOM, Raya Airways, AirAsia and Vanderlande Industries.

The agreement with DRB-HICOM is for the development of additional 450,000 square feet to conduct cargo operations at the cargo terminal, while Raya Airways' agreement is to lease 200,000 square feet at the terminal. It will team up with dnata and collaborate with DHL Express.
AirAsia will establish its regional distribution centre for Redbox, its low-cost express courier service, while Vanderlande will look to set up a regional distribution centre for spare parts for baggage handling systems in Malaysia.

Completing the five-strong line-up is Swiss company RUAG Aviation Malaysia, which will convert the former Customs building at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah airport into a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility.

MAHB Managing Director, Datuk Badlisham bin Ghazali, said KLIA Aeropolis will serve as the base of MAHB's air cargo and logistics network that extends to Penang, Sabah and Sarawak. He also remarked that, in light of global and local projected cargo traffic growth of 5% and 4% respectively, there is strong demand for a development of the Aeropolis variety. In addition to this development, MAHB intends to capitalise the e-commerce trend.

Despite past growth rates in the single digits at Kuala Lumpur International airport, Ghazali went on to explain that the group had recorded high growth in certain cargo segments, "Namely 33% in express cargo and 102% in mail cargo volume, since 2010. This is aligned with the global trend of e-commerce, where the market in Southeast Asia is expected to grow by five times to US$35 billion by 2018," he concluded.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, KLIA Aeropolis' development plans, airport terminal operations and expansion aside, has a total estimated impact of RM30bn GDP contribution and will create 56,000 jobs over a 15-year period.

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