Mainland entry to the World Trade Organisation will mean more competition but Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd (Hactl) believes it can retain its competitive edge through speedier and more reliable service. 'It's not just a price game,' Mark Ashall, director of marketing and customer service said. The push for smooth supply chains, lower inventory cost and shorter time-to-market in many manufacturing sectors meant efficiency was becoming increasingly important for air cargo handlers. 'More and more airlines are launching time-definite services,' Mr Ashall said. 'This is the way the market is going.' While airport authorities in the mainland are seeking to streamline procedures and improve efficiency, Mr Ashall believed they were still a long way from the SAR's standards. 'And in the meantime, we're moving too,' he said. Last week, Hactl - which operates the biggest cargo terminal in the world - changed its corporate identity. The aim was to shrug off its staid image and to display a more progressive attitude. Mr Ashall said the new logo represented the qualities to which Hactl aspired - speed, connectivity and continuity. 'We've been working with our customers to see what they want,' he said. The result was the introduction of new information technology and operational changes which reduced the waiting time of cargo at Hactl's facilities. Among the initiatives launched recently were e-mail notification, which potentially shortened the time waiting for deliveries. The lack of flights from airports in Guangdong to the United States and Europe had also worked to Hong Kong's advantage. 'That's another advantage of Hong Kong - the number of frequencies,' Mr Ashall said. But in saying this, he also highlighted the potential opportunities lost should the mainland liberalise its air service regime and mainland carriers expand capacity. Mr Ashall indicated further opening of the SAR's air service arrangements could benefit the airport, and Hactl, by attracting more transshipment cargo through Hong Kong. However, echoing sister company Cathay Pacific Airways, Hactl said the SAR's air cargo sector did not suffer from capacity constraints. The key to boosting the sector was to improve transport to the Pearl River Delta, Mr Ashall said. He believed the airport's marine cargo terminal, for instance, would attract more cargo from the western Pearl River Delta region. Despite the Airport Authority's report of strong cargo figures in the first five months of the year, Mr Ashall expected Hactl's growth would not outstrip last year's. 'We came off a very low base in the first half,' Mr Ashall said. 'But [in] the second half we'll be coming off quite a high base.'