Hong Kong has completely banned the import and export of e- cigarettes and restrict its transshipment, resulting in a serious decline in air freight

22 Sep 2022

By Jennifer Chang      Photo:Saqi Jugno 

The Hong Kong Freight Forwarders Association (HAFFA) issued a statement informing that, at the request of the Tobacco and Alcohol Control Office of the Hong Kong Department of Health, the import of tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products and herbal cigarettes, will be banned from April 30, 2022. Hong Kong's air cargo traffic has been affected by this. This means that products transported to Hong Kong for re-export by truck to be re-exported overseas are not allowed to be trans-shipped through Hong Kong again, but air freight and transit goods left on aircraft and ships are exempt. In the past, e-cigarettes were mostly exported from Hong Kong, but since Hong Kong has completely banned the import and export of e-cigarettes since May, e-cigarettes are mostly exported directly from China. A survey shows that Hong Kong's air cargo affected by the ban is 330,000 tons each year, and the value of re-exports is estimated to exceed 20 billion Chinese Yuan.

Most of e-cigarettes are produced in Shenzhen, China. Hong Kong has completely banned the sale, manufacture, import or promotion of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products since May and even transit is prohibited. Previously, 40% of the goods were shipped from Shenzhen to Hong Kong and then sent to the world.

According to the "2021 Electronic Cigarette Industry Blue Book", the top three countries or regions are the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Russia, accounting for 53%, 22%, and 9%, Among them, the US market is very important, accounting for more than half of the world. HAFFA said the ban had stifled the environment for the freight logistics
industry and had a negative impact on the livelihoods of its employees. Hong Kong’s air freight volume is hit by restrictions on the transshipment of e-cigarettes. This regulation has led to a severe drop in Hong Kong’s overall air freight export volume. The logistics industry, airlines, cargo terminals and Hong Kong International Airport are estimated to lose hundreds of thousands of tons of transshipment goods each year. This is bound to shake Hong Kong's status as a regional transshipment hub, and people's livelihood will suffer a huge blow.

For air cargo, the main sources of danger of e- cigarettes are chemicals, batteries, and magnetism. Chemicals: The smoke residues in e-cigarettes are chemicals. Due to the different tastes and components of e-liquids, the
dangers will also be different. The possible dangers include: flammable liquids, environmentally hazardous substances, toxic substances, etc. Battery: Lithium-ion batteries are the most common batteries in electronic cigarettes and some are lithium metal batteries. Lithium batteries will eventually be dangerous in transportation and the specific danger is related to the packaging . Magnetic inspection: It is mainly to measure the stray magnetic field strength on the surface of the air cargo packaging and judge the magnetic hazard of the cargo by air based on the measurement results. Due to different structural principles, the amount of magnets installed in electronic cigarettes is also different. Most electronic cigarettes on the
market are magnetic. In previous tests, it was often found that the magnetic properties of electronic cigarettes exceeded the standard. Therefore, when air transporting electronic cigarettes, manufacturers must conduct magnetic testing tests in advance to ensure compliance with aviation Safe transportation.

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