HK's Hactl Q1 air cargo traffic rose 1.6 pct y/y, down 2.7 pct in March

HONG KONG, April 10 Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:59am EDT

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HONG KONG, April 10 (Reuters) - Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd (Hactl) said on Wednesday its cargo traffic rose 1.6 percent in the first quarter from the same period a year ago and forecasts a slow economic recovery.

It handled a total of 643,912 tonnes of cargo in the January to March period, with exports falling 3.5 percent while imports and transshipments rose 1.3 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

Hactl is a major air cargo player in Hong Kong, which is a re-export centre for trade between Asia and the rest of the world. It handles about 70 percent of the cargo traffic of Hong Kong's international airport.

A breakdown of air cargo handled by Hactl in March and the first quarter of 2013:

March 2013 Jan-March 2013

Tonnage Yr/Yr Tonnage Yr/Yr

(tonnes) growth (pct) (tonnes) growth (pct) Export 125,586 -8.7 318,004 -3.5 Import 56,892 -1.3 153,976 +1.3 Transhipment 64,434 +10.1 171,932 +12.7 -------------------------------------------------------------- Total 246,912 -2.7 643,912 +1.6

"February has always been a traditional slower month due to the extended Chinese New Year holiday. After adjusting for the seasonal factor, the overall first-quarter figures were satisfactory. Looking into the second quarter, we expect that it will be at best flat compared to 2012 as slow economic recovery persists," Hactl's Chief Executive Mark Whitehead said in a statement.

Hactl's shareholders are Jardine, Matheson & Co Ltd, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd's unit Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd, the Wharf (Holdings) Ltd and China National Aviation Corporation (Group) Ltd.

(Reporting by Twinnie Siu; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree)

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