Air Cargo Management

Hong Kong airport opens ‘Cool Zone’ to cater for rising e-commerce demand

Hong Kong Air Cargo Industry Services (Hacis) has opened a climate-controlled facility ‘Cool Zone’ to cater for increasing volumes of perishable and temperature-sensitive goods.

The facility is located within the cargo terminal’s E-commerce Fulfilment Centre and provides a climate-controlled handling solution for goods such as fresh fruit and chocolates.

The airport said this will speed up the handling process and avoid the potential cost and delays of transferring goods to downtown facilities for processing, before delivery to the agent’s warehouse or the final customer.

The decision to open Hacis Cool Zone was driven by the growth in cool chain shipments arriving at Hong Kong International Airport, and destined for e-commerce customers.;

Hacis executive director Ringo Chan said: “The Hacis E-commerce Fulfilment Centre needed to support this expansion of temperature-sensitive e-commerce business to various local and overseas destinations, and having reliable and efficient chiller facilities was essential to ensure the preservation of these shipments in prime condition.”

Early users of the facility have been importers of fruit, yoghurt, snowy mooncake and chocolates, with most traffic inbound from Asian counties. Typical shipments comprise 100 pieces weighing between 1 to 5 kilos each.

“We anticipate an increase in the amount of temperature-controlled cargo being handled as there is a growing demand for direct supply of products such as fruits from Japan and Korea,” Ringo added.

“For time- and temperature-sensitive perishables, it is important to keep the cargo handling time as short as possible. Hacis Cool Zone will take no more than 7 hours from unloading the cargo from the aircraft, to finishing the fulfilment process.

“So, for example, if the shipment is off-loaded in the morning, it can be delivered to a local end-customer the same day. That probably won’t be possible if the consignee deals with the fulfilment process using a downtown facility.”

Cargo arriving in Hong Kong can easily be processed and delivered to local customers the same day by using the Cool Zone.

It offers a handling area with temperatures down to 15°C meaning it can preserve product quality throughout the fulfilment process.

The facility is equipped with storage racks, and work tables for pick and pack and labelling. Cool Zone has the ability to integrate with agents’ own IT systems to feed direct status updates and stock information.

Hacis is also able to provide storage for chilled, fresh and frozen commodities ranging from +25°C to -25°C.

The Cool Zone is directly linked to Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals’ SuperTerminal 1 automated Box Storage System (BSS), enabling it to cater for loose cargo while minimising transit times.

Once cargo is transferred to the Cool Zone, staff perform all required processes such as pick and pack and labelling, before cargo is loaded onto temperature-controlled customer vehicles waiting at the facility’s dedicated truck docks.

Alternatively, individual orders can be delivered direct from the Cool Zone to the end-customer by courier.

Hacis Cool Zone offers charging on a per-item-per-service basis, or as a comprehensive tailored package.

Ringo said: “Hacis Cool Zone is unique in providing a total one-stop-shop solution for temperature-sensitive commodities, with all processes carried out in controlled conditions. This supports the expansion of Online to Offline (O2O) e-commerce businesses to various local and overseas destinations.”

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