Changi feels the impact of cargo throughput slide

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 November, 2001, 12:00am

The volume of cargo moving through Singapore's Changi International Airport continued its downward spiral in September, dropping an annualised 12.9 per cent.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, goods linked to the Asian economies led the declines as the region felt the immediate effects of the attacks in New York and Washington on top of a steadily weakening global economy.

Air trade linked to Taiwan was the biggest loser, shrinking an annualised 27.9 per cent, to 9,960 tonnes.

Also showing shrinkage of at least 19 per cent was trade linked to the United States, Malaysia and Japan.

Changi's overall figures for the month were similar to those in Hong Kong, where the leading air-cargo handler, Hongkong Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl), saw cargo volume during the month decline an annualised 11.1 per cent, to 139,120 tonnes.

Tonnage handled by Hactl for the third quarter was 388,190 tonnes, down 13.4 per cent. At the same time, the nine-month total was 1.12 million tonnes, a drop of 10.1 per cent.

However, analysts said a breakdown of the goods being transported through Changi appeared to indicate that the value of the cargo also may be dropping significantly.

For instance, the volume of goods moved from the high-value electronics and telecommunications sectors - Singapore's economic lifeblood in export terms - plummeted 69.5 per cent year on year, to 610 tonnes.

Another mainstay of the export economy, clothing and textiles, also dropped an annualised 69 per cent in the month, to 1,588 tonnes.

Lower-valued manufactured goods moving through the airport, however, continued to perform well, improving by an annualised 35 per cent.

Analysts said this may indicate solid consumer confidence despite the economic downturn which has seen the government revise its gross domestic product growth forecast downward three times since the beginning of the year.