After struggles to make its three three 747-400Fs on lease from Atlas Air profitable, Flexport has announced a collaboration with WestJet to optimise backhaul routes to Asia.  
WestJet will deliver Canadian cargo to Chicago O’Hare, where Flexport freighters operate routes to Asia including Incheon (ICN), Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and Hong Kong (HKG), which it said would “effectively expand the global reach for WestJet Cargo and its customers”. 
Kirsten de Bruijn, EVP cargo at WestJet, said the collaboration would meet “the surge in demand for Canadian products in key Asian markets, particularly perishables like seafood”. It is likely to be particularly beneficial to Halifax and the maritime provinces, renowned for their seafood exports where there are limited direct options into Asia. 
Flexport added: “As the collaboration evolves, WestJet Cargo and Flexport will explore opportunities to expand into specialised and high-value commodities.” 
Neel Jones Shah, EVP of global key accounts and chief customer officer at Flexport, said: “Our collaboration with WestJet Cargo is the latest example in Flexport’s mission to make global commerce so easy there’ll be more of it; by creating a fast lane for Canadian exporters to move their goods, we can break down global trade barriers and boost export volumes for these producers.” 
WestJet Cargo and Flexport said they “will continue to explore opportunities to expand the agreement into additional destination airports in Asia and gateways at origin”.
The news of this collaboration comes after Flexport admitted it needed a strong US export market to make the capacity on its Atlas Air freighters profitable.  CEO Ryan Petersen, told WSJ in October: “The only way for those planes to return to profitability is to build up our export business.
“We’re starting to win some major accounts on the backhaul to Asia. And so I expect within the next quarter the planes to be profitable again.” 
Mr Petersen added that Flexport planned to be profitable towards the end of next year.
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