Hong Kong Air Cargo Industry Services has opened a new cold facility as more perishable products are purchased via e-commerce

Hong Kong Air Cargo Industry Services (Hacis), the value-added logistics arm of Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl), has opened a new climate-controlled facility called the Cool Zone, to cater for the increasing volumes of perishable and temperature-sensitive e-commerce traffic transiting Hong Kong.

Hacis Cool Zone in Hong Kong

Hacis Cool Zone in Hong Kong

Hacis’ new Cool Zone – located within its e-commerce fulfilment centre – provides a total, climate-controlled handling solution for goods such as fresh fruit, speeding up the handling process and avoiding the potential cost and delays of transferring goods to downtown facilities for processing, before delivery to the agent’s warehouse or the final customer. Hacis’ Cool Zone allows cargo arriving in Hong Kong to easily be processed and delivered to local customers the same day. 

The facility offers a handling area with temperatures down to 15°C, so preserving product quality throughout the fulfilment process. It is also equipped with storage racks, and work tables for pick and pack and labelling. Cool Zone can integrate with agents’ own IT systems to feed direct status updates and stock information.

Hacis is also able to provide storage for chilled, fresh and frozen commodities ranging from +25°C to -25°C. 

The Cool Zone is directly linked to Hactl’s SuperTerminal 1 automated Box Storage System (BSS), enabling it to cater for loose cargo, while minimising transit times. Once cargo is transferred to the Cool Zone, staff perform all required processes such as pick and pack and labelling, before the cargo is loaded onto temperature-controlled customer vehicles waiting at the facility’s dedicated truck docks. Alternatively, individual orders can be delivered direct from the Cool Zone to the end-customer by courier.

The decision to open Hacis Cool Zone was driven by the growth in cool chain shipments arriving at Hong Kong International Airport, and destined for e-commerce customers, explained Hacis executive director Ringo Chan.

“The Hacis E-commerce Fulfilment Centre needed to support this expansion of temperature-sensitive e-commerce business to various local and overseas destinations, and having reliable and efficient chiller facilities was essential to ensure the preservation of these shipments in prime condition,” said Chan.

Early users of the facility have been importers of fruit, yoghurt, snowy mooncake and chocolates, with most traffic inbound from Asian counties. Typical shipments comprise 100 pieces weighing between 1-5kg each.

“We anticipate an increase in the amount of temperature-controlled cargo being handled as there is a growing demand for direct supply of products such as fruits from Japan and Korea,” said Chan.

“For time- and temperature-sensitive perishables, it is important to keep the cargo handling time as short as possible. Hacis Cool Zone will take no more than seven hours from unloading the cargo from the aircraft, to finishing the fulfilment process.

“So, for example, if the shipment is off-loaded in the morning, it can be delivered to a local end-customer the same day. That probably won’t be possible if the consignee deals with the fulfilment process using a downtown facility.”