Two logistics providers with ties to Asia have partnered to start weekly freight flights between Seoul, South Korea and Columbus, Ohio, adding an express cargo link between the regions at a time when an escalating trade war is throwing traditional trade routes into doubt.
Freight forwarder Apex Logistics Inc. partnered with Asiana Cargo, the freight subsidiary of South Korean airline Asiana Airlines Inc., to provide scheduled flights between several Asian airports and a freight hub in Columbus, Ohio.
More specifically, Asiana Cargo's inaugural flight on the new route landed at Columbus' Rickenbacker International Airport on Aug. 24, kicking off weekly scheduled flights carrying freight between Rickenbacker and the airline's global hub at Incheon International Airport, near Seoul, South Korea.
The scheduled flights will also link Wuhan, China—an industrial hub in central China—with Rickenbacker. As an airport dedicated to freight, as opposed to passenger, flights, Rickenbacker also hosts weekly international flights by AirBridgeCargo, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Cargo, China Airlines Cargo, Emirates SkyCargo, and Etihad Cargo.
"APEX Logistics has a long-term vision to grow and connect Asia directly to the Midwest U.S. market through Rickenbacker and Chicago International Airport," said Elsie Qian, Chief Executive Officer Americas at APEX. "Rickenbacker's unparalleled geography and speed to market, along with the freight-friendly mentality of the region, will set us apart from competitors."
Rickenbacker says its location offers prime access to U.S. markets, pointing out that FedEx Corp. and UPS Inc. also use the site to operate domestic cargo service in support of their growing e-commerce activity.
"By focusing their growth strategy on Rickenbacker, APEX and Asiana Cargo are able to connect China and key Asian origins directly with nearly half of the U.S. and one-third of the Canadian populations from one convenient, reliable location," Joseph Nardone, president & CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which operates Rickenbacker, said in a release.
The new air freight route opens a new business link to China just as many U.S. manufacturers, producers, and retailers are struggling to cope with the economic blow of spiraling tariffs on their imports of Chinese goods. The Trump Administration has said it intends the tariffs to force more favorable trading conditions with China, but many companies and logistics service providers say the expanding costs could grievously harm their productivity and profitability if a solution is not found soon.