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More and more, Vietnam’s exports fly to customers   2010-09-05 - Tuoi tre

The volume of exports carried by air is running 43 percent ahead of last year.  Trai Thien, a private Vietamese cargo airline, will begin flying on September 5.


“Fast” means “good”


Vietnam’s first private cargo airline, Trai Thien Cargo, will deploy two Boeing B737-300’s.  The planes can carry 18 tons of cargo, and from September 5 will fly between Hong Kong, Hanoi, HCM City and Singapore.

Trai Thien Chairman Nguyen Quoc Khanh expects the new airline to break even by next year.

Mai Xuan Thin, Business Director of HCM City’s Rong Do Company, a specialist exporter of fruits and vegetables, said the company ships three tons of dragon fruit (thanh long) each week. “Of course, the cost of shipping by air is high,” Thin says, “$3.65 to $3.80 per kilogramme. However, we can be sure the fruits are still fresh when they arrive, and so we can command higher prices.”

Doan, who heads a company that exports out-of-season fruits to Europe, says the volume of rambutan, mangosteen and dragon fruits he’s shipped is up by nearly 30 percent this year.  “In the fresh fruit business, shipment by air is critically important to our competitiveness,” he adds.

The Civil Aviation Administration (CAAV) confirms that Vietnam’s international air cargo market has been growing quite rapidly. Forty-four international airlines carry both passengers and cargo.  Nine use some all-cargo planes: Korean Air, Taiwan’s Eva Air and China Airlines, Qantas, Cargolux (Luxembourg), FedEx (US), Singapore Air Cargo and Shanghai Air Cargo.


The volume of air cargo increased from 166,000 tons in 2005 to 248,000 tons in 2009, average yearly growth of 10.6 percent.  This year, growth has accelerated. Shipments in the first seven months of 2010 were up 43.8 percent over the same period of 2009.


It is now the transport high season, which explains why airlines officers say they are very busy. A transport agent says he’s been arranging paperwork to send four tons of dragonfruit to Europe every five days.


Export revenues on the rise


Exporters say air transport fees differ depending on the weight and type of goods. Normal goods are classified by weight, in one ton, 500 kilo, 300 kilo, 100 kilo and 45 kilo decrements and correspondingly higher costs per kilo. The smallest consignments of goods are charged $8 or $9 per kilo.


A representative of Eva Air Cargo said her airline has two Boeing 747 freighter flights a week from HCM City to Taiwan, and a daily mixed passenger/cargo flight using a Boeing 737-300 with a cargo compartment that can hold 17 tons.


Eva Air judges that the cargo transport market has grown by 30 percent this year. 90 percent of its cargo is exports to the US, mainly clothes and footwear.


Vu Hai Thanh, General Director of Tan Son Nhat Cargo Services Company (TCS), said every day TCS handles 20 tons or more of cargo for Europe.  The shipments there of clothes, footwear, fruits, ornamental fish or tuna account for 30 to 35 percent of TCS’ total export volume.


Customs officers at Tan Son Nhat say the value of exports leaving the airport in June, July and August reached one billion dollars.  It was a mere $276 million in the same period of 2009.

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