"Northern Australia has untapped potential for growth in existing and new industries"

The new facility that could open up Darwin's fresh produce export potential

A successful seafreight shipment of mangoes out of Darwin could be the start of an exciting new opportunity for Northern Australia, according to one of the country's leading handling companies.

Pak Fresh Handling says they were successful in their first ocean shipment in getting NT R2E2 Mangoes on the shelf at major Singapore Supermarket, along with their partner Excelsior Fruit International, last month. General Manager NT Robert Hall is excited about the future possibilities for the Territory's fresh produce businesses.

"Our new facility is export accredited for all produce so we were able to bring the mango in, bring down to temp in our forced air room, pack onto our specially manufactured mango export pallets and load into 20’ reefers," he said. "It minimises handling, takes away the need for the product to travel on road for 4000 kilometres and we can control the fruit temperature to the customer's door in Singapore. We handle everything including paperwork so all the exporter needs to do is drop the fruit to our facility, we do the rest."

The 3000m2 airside facility located at the Darwin International Airport includes a freezer, chiller and ambient spaces, as well as a Vapour Heat Treatment plant for mangoes.

"This has bought services never available before to the Northern Territory and we are excited about opening up Northern Australia to the rest of the world," Mr Hall said.

Currently, Pak Fresh Handling is working closely with the mango and melon industries, and Mr Hall says the company can bring instant benefit to both, by reducing handling, transit times and costs.

"We will continue to work with other developing export industries such as pumpkin, citrus, table grapes and Asian greens," he said. "A lot of work is being done to expand the scope of produce we can grow in the North for the export market. Northern Australia has untapped potential for growth in existing and new industries not only in the horticulture space, but also seafood, beef, buffalo plus others and we see our investment in this infrastructure and bringing capability into the market will assist in developing more export by sea and air direct out of Darwin."

Pak Fresh Handling was first established in 2010 as a specialized airfreight handling facility in Adelaide, South Australia, and Mr Hall says the business has evolved greatly since its commencement.

"We seamlessly provide tailored airfreight solutions, including international airfreight handling, national airfreight, cargo terminal operations, a further wide range of cold chain services at a majority of capitals and regional centres in Australia," he said. "We understand in our industry the need for flexibility and creativity in order to succeed. We are always continuing to improve the quality of our services whilst growing with the needs of our clients and markets. Pak Fresh Handling (NT) is a joint venture to bring the local know-how and can-do attitude which has been a great match."

But Mr Hall says the new opportunities created by the seafreight and the Darwin facilities, will not totally replace airfreight.

"We work sea and air together as both have a place in the market and our client base," he said. "Sea offers reduced handling and lower per kg price in a more controlled environment. Air offers speed to market and more flexibility and we work through both with our clients to formulate export plans to meet their overseas client’s needs."

For more information
Robert Hall
Pak Fresh Handling
Phone: +61 477 247 072

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