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Resilient Chinese exports lift airlines, shipping lines and ports

COVID slashed 2020 passenger numbers, but strong cargo demand helped

Robust cargo shipments last year were a boon for China's big state-owned airlines, shippers, logistics service suppliers and port operators. (Source photos by Reuters and Getty Images)

HONG KONG -- China's big three state-owned airlines were not spared when the coronavirus pandemic devastated the global travel industry. Together they racked up 2020 net losses totaling about $5.7 billion, even after an early recovery in domestic traffic.

But robust cargo shipments eased the financial pain. Global trade got a boost from increased demand for goods ordered by consumers buying from home, as lockdowns and restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 came into force worldwide. 

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