China will take further steps to boost the country’s international air freight capacity to stabilize supply chains, the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on March 24.
In recent years, China has intensified the development of an international logistics supply chain system, which has helped open up new prospects in the country’s all-round opening-up. General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized the need to keep industrial and supply chains in foreign trade smooth and running to maintain stability in the global supply chains. Premier Li Keqiang stressed that development of an international logistics and delivery services system must be accelerated to uphold the smooth running of the industrial chain.
“With the pandemic rampaging across the world and air passenger services dwindling worldwide due to the outbreak, the volumes of cargo carried by passenger planes have plummeted, and shipping costs have risen significantly. In the course of the outbreak response, the weak links in our air transport capacity have been exposed. We must facilitate both international and domestic air transport services, and keep up our international air freight capacity to avert potential shocks to the supply chains and facilitate the restart of business operations,” Premier Li said.
The meeting on March 24 urged effective measures to increase the country’s international air freight capacity and ensure unimpeded shipments. This will both help bolster the Chinese economy and sharpen China’s competitive edge in international logistics services.
The meeting called for stronger international collaboration to keep international express delivery and other air freight services smooth and running. Policy support will be provided to international cargo flights during the outbreak. Air freight carriers will be supported in expanding their fleets by bringing in more cargo jets through lease or purchase.
The role of the market will be fully harnessed and all air freight companies will receive equal support regardless of their types of ownership. The merger and reorganization of air freight and logistics firms will be encouraged, and express delivery companies will be supported in expanding air services and overseas operations.
“We must plan ahead and harness the initiative of logistics firms in developing an international air transport network,” Premier Li said.
The meeting urged strengthening networks of air cargo hubs. Restrictions on peak hour slots for cargo flights will be lifted at airports with strong cargo handling capacity.
Where conditions permit, international hub airports in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, the Yangtze River Delta, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macao, Chengdu, and Chongqing will provide 24/7 customs clearance services and improve the efficiency of security checks and clearance procedures.
“The manufacturing sector has been the first to resume operations, and experience has been gained in this process. The major challenge is about the clogged supply chains. To date, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises have yet to resume full-capacity production, and this has affected the entire industrial chain. It is thus critical that all the support policies for smaller firms be promptly and fully delivered,” Premier Li said.
The meeting required coordinating the standards for air freight services, simplifying the documentation requirements on freight services, and promoting paperless handling procedures. Platforms for logistics information sharing will be developed to serve airlines, post services, express delivery companies and freight stations. Existing airports will be modernized and better equipped with cold-chain and parcel sorting facilities, and new airports mainly serving freight needs will be developed.
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