Re-equipment and expansion beyond its six MD-11s began in mid-2005 when it was announced by Boeing that an agreement had been signed for two new 747-400ERFs valued at about $430 million at list prices. The 747s replaced various wet-leased examples China Cargo had been using and arrived as B-2425 in September 2006 and B-2426 in September 2007.
There have been various rumours of consolidation within the Chinese cargo market over the years including the suggestion that China Cargo may merge with Air China Cargo as early as 2006. China Cargo itself has diversified its shareholder structure with Singapore Airlines and Eva Air both buying 16% stakes in 2010 reducing China Eastern's stake to 51% and China Ocean Shipping's to 17%.
China Cargo was significantly strengthened in June 2011 when both Great Wall Airlines and Shanghai Airlines Cargo were merged into it. The fleet was expanded by the addition of Great Wall's two 747-412Fs and Shanghai Cargo's 3 MD-11s and 2 757s. The original six strong MD-11 fleet was however quickly replaced with new build 777-F6Ns from January 2010. Six 777s were in service by July 2011 registered B-2076-79 and 2082-83. The three ex-Shanghai MD-11s survived into late 2013.
The continuous rumblings of possible mergers unabated with CAAC deputy director Zhou Laizhen apparently letting slip in June 2016 that merger options were being explored between Air China Cargo, China Cargo and China Southern Cargo. This was swiftly denied however there appears some will to consolidate the airfreight sector to strengthen it against foreign competition and protect it from the weakening of Chinese export growth. Analysts were of the opinion that despite its seniority China Eastern would be the most happy concerning any merger as China Cargo was the least well performing of the three airlines.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: