South Australia agricultural exports have increased due to new airlines

New airlines and more wide-body planes saw direct exports for South Australia’s agriculture and fisheries industries increase by 50 per cent in the past two years.

Last month’s launch of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner wide-body service to Auckland alone saw freight capacity grow from virtually zero to up to 25 tonnes each flight to New Zealand or on wards to the United States.

It’s triggered a powerful turnaround in the state’s export potential with Adelaide Airport managing director Mark Young saying until relatively recently most SA freight exports were forced to travel interstate before heading to overseas markets.

New airlines, including Emirates, Qatar and China Southern, and the recent arrival of the wide-body aircraft was a game changer, with “up to 60 per cent of our exports” now carried direct from Adelaide.

“In fact Qatar Airways, with its new Airbus A350, is now carrying Victorian exports out of Adelaide" he said.

“Direct regular passenger and freight services create faster, cheaper and more regular paths to market and reduces the time from farm to fork for our perishable goods and so also increases the premium that our exporters can achieve.

“But 40 to 50 per cent of our airfreight still travels via interstate airports such as Sydney and Melbourne, so there’s still plenty of scope to create more direct links for our exporters to overseas markets.”

It also means SA fresh produce can be arriving within a day to overseas countries, reinforcing its clean, green and fresh branding.

Another by-product is the growth in industry servicing the boom, with Pak Fresh Handling at Adelaide Airport taking on 100 per cent of the local exports.

The handling company, with refrigeration facilities at Adelaide Airport, packs fresh fruit, vegetables and other products before delivering them into the holds of passenger jets for direct, fresh export.

Joint owners Nathan Beven and Adam Wright started the company in 2010 and now had 16 staff as the state’s direct export figures skyrocketed and costly freighting to eastern states fell.

“It gives us the opportunity to compete with Melbourne and Sydney now, we can export from here directly into Singapore, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Doha,” he said.

And growing demand for direct freight from SA producers was helping the state attract more airlines reliant on long-term passenger and freight demand.

China is now the state’s biggest trading partner by weight, followed by Singapore, having grown by 37 per cent and 31 per cent respectively in the past 12 months, boosted by SA exports.

Mr Young said fresh grapes were the biggest export to Thailand and potatoes and watermelons to the United Arab Emirates.


Publication date: 11/14/2017

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