BETTER LOGISTICS infrastructure and closer co-operation with airports in the Pearl River Delta are key to the future growth of Hong Kong's air cargo business, according to Jochen Krug, general manager of airfreight and logistics at Schenker International (HK). Mr Krug also said that there was a steady development of Chek Lap Kok's cargo facilities and that the Airport Authority was doing a good job of coping with the various needs of the cargo and logistics industry. Initiatives such as direct transportation links to cities in the delta were helping to further enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong International Airport, he said. 'However, one major problem still is the lack of a world-class cargo and logistics agent's facility at the airport,' he said. 'The existing cargo agent's facility is not up to standard and does not meet the demands of the industry. 'Hardly any of the main players in the airfreight forwarding industry are at the airport. Instead their airfreight offices are located [in urban areas]. This needs to change.' For an airfreight forwarder, the best solution would be to have the main office at the airport to be near the airlines and handle the import cargo immediately. Schenker specialises in air and sea freight transport concepts and related logistics services. Since 2001, the company has consolidated its seafreight, airfreight and logistics activities at ATL Logistics Centre B in Kwai Chung, providing time and cost savings for the handling of import and export shipments for logistics clients. Registering satisfactory business growth, the group praised the cargo handling by airlines at Chek Lap Kok. Commenting on the prospect of Hong Kong maintaining its leading role as an international air hub, Mr Krug said closer co-operation with mainland airports should be explored. 'Despite the concentration of new airports in the Pearl River Delta, we believe Hong Kong will maintain its position as an international air hub, as long as the officials make intelligent arrangements with other airports - like Guangzhou and Shenzhen - on how to work together to facilitate the delta's cargo output,' he said. 'There is a great chance to use the combined strength of the Pearl River Delta to compete with other areas in China - like greater Shanghai - and make Hong Kong strong for years to come.' China's entry into the World Trade Organisation is providing greater opportunities for the logistics industry as a whole and Schenker has been making progress in its mainland expansion plans. The company's representative office in Shanghai recently obtained an A-Class Forwarding Licence through the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement. Under this scheme, Schenker China is entitled to operate as a wholly owned entity in China to tap its logistics growth. Parent Schenker Group employs 38,000 people in about 1,100 offices worldwide, including 1,000 staff in Hong Kong and the mainland.