Incheon Airport turns reliable global logistics hub

Global distribution centre for e-commerce, costing $28mn, expected to be built in free economic zone by August 2023

Incheon Airport turns reliable global logistics hub
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South Korea’s Incheon International Airport's cargo-only routes connect 107 cities in 43 countries through 25 airlines. The destinations include 20 in China, six in Japan, 10 in Southeast Asia, 27 in North America, five in Central and South America, and 18 in Europe.

Constant investment in logistics infrastructure development and rapid response to the latest logistics trends have been key growth factors behind the steady growth of Incheon Airport's air cargo, according to Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC). The Incheon Free Economic Zone, which includes the Incheon Airport logistics complex and cargo terminal areas, provides customers with a more competitive environment through convenient customs procedures, tariff benefits, and various incentives, says an official release issued to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the airport.

"A large-scale global distribution centre (GDC) for e-commerce with a total project cost of approximately KRW 31 billion ($28 million) is expected to be built in the free economic zone by August 2023. When the GDC is completed, it is expected to generate approximately 8,000 tonnes of cargo, about 240 new jobs as well as attract more than $20 million."

IATA CEIV Fresh certification and CEIV Pharma recertification
As demand for high-value air cargo such as bioscience and cold chain continue to grow, the Incheon Airport community, including Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and DB Schenker Korea, obtained certification for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) in June 2019. "According to regulations requiring recertification every three years, they went through a thorough verification process in September 2022 and obtained recertification. IATA CEIV Pharma is an international standard certification system introduced by IATA to ensure stable air transportation quality for sensitive pharmaceuticals such as vaccines."

The Incheon Airport community also obtained the certification for CEIV Fresh on November 22, 2022. Incheon became the fourth airport in the world to obtain certification, following Hong Kong, Oman, and Changi airports. The certification of CEIV Fresh by the Incheon Airport community is expected to serve as a positive factor in attracting demand for fresh cargo as it demonstrates Incheon Airport's expertise in fresh cargo transportation facilities and operations to shippers, the release added.

"We will make every effort to become the best in the world not only in the passenger sector but also in the air cargo sector," says an official from IIAC. "To achieve this, we are expanding cargo terminals of world-renowned airlines such as FedEx and UPS at Incheon Airport, actively attracting global shipping centres of logistics companies in the free trade zone of nearly 600,000 square metres to secure cargo volume and planning to have dedicated terminals for fresh cargo such as semiconductors and pharmaceuticals."

IIAC is working with 10 companies, including Korean Air, DB Schenker and Swissport Korea, to obtain IATA CEIV Lithium Battery (CEIV Li-Batt) certification, the release added.

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