Yangtze River Express offers direct cargo service to Shanghai.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined Chairman of the Board for the Hainan Group, Chen Feng and Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) officials to commemorate the inaugural air cargo flight of Yangtze River Express to Shanghai, China. The new service marks the first direct air service between New England and China and provides new opportunities to promote the export of Massachusetts’ products to the booming Chinese markets.

‘China is one of our most important export markets, and in the past five years alone, Massachusetts exports to China have increased over 200%,’ said Governor Patrick. ‘We have seen a tremendous interest in China among Massachusetts firms and expect that the Yangtze River Express direct air cargo service will open doors for even more local exporters to access the emerging Chinese market.’

Yangtze River Express will offer direct air cargo service from Boston to Shanghai three times a week with Boeing 747 aircraft. Yangtze River Express, a subsidiary of the Hainan Group and Hainan Airlines, is one of the largest, fastest growing air cargo carriers in China.

Direct Boston-China air service has long been a business development goal for Massport supported by the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation and state and local economic development agencies.

‘Partnerships like this mean more trade, more tourism, more jobs, and a closer relationship between these two cities and their respective populations. This is one way Boston can build its economy going forward ’ by embracing the changes of globalization and meeting them head-on,’ Mayor Menino said. ‘I want to thank Governor Patrick, Thomas Kinton of Massport, and everyone at Hainan Airlines for their partnership. Let’s keep working together to make Boston a more vibrant, competitive city.’

Prior to the start of the Yangtze River Express service, 70% of New England’s air exports to China were sent through New York, adding delays and increasing shipping costs for local companies. With direct cargo service from Boston, the volume of New England air shipments to China is projected to grow by 50%.

China is currently the sixth largest destination for Massachusetts products with export values growing an average of 20% per year since 1998. Massachusetts’ leading exports to China include electrical machinery and audio video equipment, industrial machinery and computers, and optic, photo and medical instruments. The success of the industries that produce these products is key to the long-term growth of the local economy.

‘Direct service to China is something Massport has been working towards for years as part of our mission to help support the regional economy by connecting local companies with the global marketplace,’ said Massport Executive Director and CEO Thomas J. Kinton, Jr. ‘We are pleased to welcome Yangtze River Express to Boston and look forward to building on the success of the Shanghai service.’

Boston’s Logan International Airport serves as the gateway to the six-state New England region with a population of over 14 million. In 2006, Boston Logan handled nearly 28 million passengers and carried nearly 716 million pounds of cargo and mail. Logan enjoys direct airport access to U.S. interstate highway system, and is minutes from downtown and the seaport.

“For two years my HNA Group has studied many opportunities in cities across the United States as the final choice for direct service from China’, said Chairman Chen Feng. Massachusetts came to the table with something different—a team approach of government and business leaders, working together, working smart and working strong to make this partnership a success. Massport and the many government and business leaders showed our group a view not of the present, but a vision of the future.”