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Australian exporters hampered by container shortage and Covid protocols

Australian food exporters are heavily affected by the global supply chain crunch; shortages of food-grade shipping containers drive up costs and slashes the shelf life of fresh produce. The container shortage is also compounding the challenges faced by exporters, who are experiencing significant delays at international ports because of stringent Covid-19 management protocols.

One of WA's biggest citrus producers, Agrifresh, had to scale back its export program by about 40 per cent last year because of the supply chain and logistical challenges. Agrifresh managing director Joseph Ling has started planning the company's shipping stem months before the start of picking. Ling said the company had already started planning its shipping stem for the 2021 season, despite picking still being several months away.

"This shortage is going to be impacting us in a huge way, because we can't put our fruit into frozen containers or the general freight containers," he told "Together with other exporters, we are in a very concerning situation. We are concerned that not only when we need the container it's not there, but we need the quantity of containers to have on the boat for us to be able to make bookings."


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