E-commerce bolsters SriLankan Airlines freight business

ECONOMYNEXT – Rapid growth in highly profitable e-commerce shipments are helping increase the freight business of SriLankan Airlines with the national carrier aiming to use the island’s location to grow transhipment cargo, an official said.

Udeni Perera, senior manager worldwide, cargo operations of SriLankan Airlines, said April’s Easter Sunday suicide bombings had led to a drop in overall cargo loads and revenue but e-commerce shipments were a fast-growing new business.

 “We see an increase in the parcel business, driven by growth in e commerce,” he told economynext.com.

“It’s a new business segment – PO (post office) mail,  express baggage shipments by courier companies – generated by e-commerce.”

Most of the cargo was still imports but SriLankan Airlines was also using the island’s location to increase freight transhipment business, Perera said. 

“Our transhipment business is also improving. For instance, we have courier shipments from Hong Kong to Doha, such as express orders, going via Colombo. They bring it on Cathay Pacific and it goes out on SriLankan Airlines.”

E-commerce shipments are seen a growth business worldwide with freight and logistics companies getting ready to serve it with increase capacity and connections.

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Last year, Post Office mail revenue amounted to 1.2 million US dollars for SriLankan Airlines, mainly from e-commerce, which the carrier said is a driver of air freight profitability.

The national carrier’s freight arm, SriLankan Cargo, generated 96 million dollars from cargo last year, an increase of 18 percent from the previous year, and 10 percent of total air traffic sales, up from 8.8 percent the year before.

China, a key air cargo market, accounted for 19 percent of the cargo revenue, with the highest growth coming from the Middle East market, traditionally poor contributors for air cargo,

SriLankan Airlines has said some of its new service had helped it to capitalise on the high yielding e-commerce movements from the region and increase market share.
(COLOMBO 25 June, 2019)