HACTL Superterminal

The Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminal (HACTL), Superterminal 1, at Hong Kong International Airport is the largest and most technologically advanced single cargo terminal in the world. It reinforces Hong Kong’s status as a major centre for international commerce and communications in South-East Asia. The Superterminal itself consists of two buildings: the Express Centre, a two-storey express cargo and courier facility; and the Cargo Terminal, a seven-storey cargo-handling facility. Together, these two buildings have the capacity to handle 2.5 million tonnes of cargo annually – more than two-and-a-half times the capacity of its nearest rival, Heathrow Airport.

The Express Centre provides express cargo and courier operators with their own sorting facilities and can process 200,000 tonnes of cargo a year. Specialist facilities allow the Centre to handle anything from livestock to precious items, including diamonds, cash and gold bullion. Sitting alongside it, the Cargo Terminal is an enormous building, 200 metres wide by 290 metres long. Running along the length of the building’s sides are two fully automated container storage racking systems, each 250 metres long and 45 metres high, and two bulk storage racking systems - the largest combined racking system ever built. The container racking lines the perimeter of the building, visible from the runway through fully glazed walls, which allow the building to glow at night. A bulk storage racking system is located in a concrete enclosure at the heart of the building, where cargo can be stored for up to two months.

Accommodation at each end of the building includes the HACTL offices, airline offices, a customer service hall and a canteen capable of serving 600 people at one sitting. Employees and their families have an unprecedented range of facilities. The Terminal incorporates a sports centre with squash courts, badminton courts and a sports hall. It also has the largest roof garden in the world, with swimming pools and tennis courts, which together give the building a rich and varied social focus.

Superterminal is the largest single automated air cargo terminal in the world, and because the speed and functional efficiency of an air cargo facility depend on the number of access points to the terminal, it has a jaw-dropping facade over 2 kilometres confronting the airport.

The Independent Review

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