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.

“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 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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