Canberra Airport – an International Air Freight hub?

Significant economic benefits can be reaped from developing Australia’s Canberra Airport as an international air freight hub mainly by reorganising freight movements for the Singapore, Hong Kong and Middle East routes.

A report by Cadence Economics identifies several scenarios, with the Singapore-only scenario reallocates 113 cargo flights a year, while the three-port model involves 279 flights, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.

With four B-double trucks worth of road freight required for a single average air freighter, the report said this translates to an additional 452 to 1116 B-doubles per year.

“Canberra Airport has a number of key advantages in relation to handling international freight,” Cadence said. “It has no night-time curfew, significant runway capacity, existing tarmac-side warehousing facilities, land for development, and easy access to improved road infrastructure.

“Canberra is close enough to both Sydney and Melbourne for express goods to be delivered by road freight while still meeting the express delivery service standards of major air freight operators.”

An estimated 37,107 tonnes of exports leave the Canberra catchment each year through Kingsford Smith and Melbourne Airports, valued at AUD226 million (US$174 million). This equates to roughly one Boeing 747 freighter landing at Canberra Airport per day.

The road transport saving to and from the airport is estimated at 14c/kg for goods previously routed through Sydney.

New South Wales (NSW) is expected to benefit from improved efficiencies at Kingsford Smith and replacement of Canberra catchment freight from other sources.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) chief minister Andrew Barr said international freight was part of the business case to attract overseas carriers, providing Canberra businesses with an avenue to look global.

“The government will now work with the airport, Singapore Airlines, local businesses and councils in the Canberra region to ensure we have the infrastructure in place to encourage more businesses to utilise the service,” he said.