Forwarders welcome new Melbourne-Hong Kong capacity

The launch of Virgin Australia’s daily Melbourne-Hong Kong services on 12 November is a timely boost to meet growing demand for cargo capacity on the route, according to Virgin Atlantic Cargo, which provides long-haul international cargo sales and management for Virgin Australia.

Volumes have been increasing steadily in both directions since Virgin Australia commenced five Airbus A330-200 flights a week in July. The extra capacity provided by the new daily service will support the peak perishables season ex Australia as well as thriving e-commerce and courier business from Hong Kong, the carrier said.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo has generated over 1,200 tonnes of freight and courier traffic since the route began. Other regular shipments have included garments, shoes, electronics goods, vitamins, milk powder and meat.

The appointment in August of Jarrod Paterson as account manager for Melbourne has also helped the airline develop other lines of business, such as shipments of fresh lobster, Abalone and chilled salmon from Tasmania to Hong Kong.

Continued inward business investment in Melbourne is also expected to help sustain long-term cargo demand. Amazon is one of the latest global brands to announce fresh investment in the state of Victoria with its plans for a 24,000 square metre e-commerce fulfilment centre in Melbourne.

Pip Palmer, Virgin Atlantic’s regional sales manager for Australia and New Zealand, said: “Our freight forwarder and courier customers are absolutely delighted that Virgin Australia is increasing its commitment to the Melbourne-Hong Kong route. Cargo volumes to and from Melbourne have exceeded our expectations so far.

“There are a series of positive business indicators that show not only a consistent level of demand from our current customers but also opportunities for new traffic like we have started to generate from Tasmania.”

Virgin Atlantic, which has provided long-haul international sales for Virgin Australia since 2009, also sells capacity on Virgin Australia’s operations from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Los Angeles. Shipments to and from Australia can also connect with Virgin Atlantic’s global network over both Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

Source: Author: Will Waters


Record number of Aussies at Asia Fruit Logistica

HONG Kong was given a hearty “g’day” as more than 200 Australian fruit, vegetable and nut producers and industry representatives attended one of the world’s biggest horticulture events, Asia Fruit Logistica 2017.

The delegates were there to showcase their produce at Asia’s largest horticulture trade show, marking the beginning of a six-month tour across Asia and into the Middle East.

The group – which comprises the industry’s biggest trade delegation yet – joined Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) in officially opening the new Taste Australia pavilion at Asia Fruit Logisitica earlier this week.

Over the two-day event, the group gained exposure to 11,000 top trade decision-makers from 74 countries.

HIA chief executive, John Lloyd, said the group was showcasing more produce than ever with a record number of growers and industry representatives.

“Our Taste Australia pavilion at Asia Fruit Logistica is huge – it is 30 per cent larger than last year at close to 500sqms,” Mr Lloyd said.

ON SITE: The Taste Australia site at Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong this week.
ON SITE: The Taste Australia site at Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong this week.

“And the upcoming six-month trade tour to events in Dubai, Beijing and Tokyo is going to be massive.

“On top of all of this, Hort Innovation’s investment in research and development to support trade activities – from market access, to export readiness to supply chain efficiency work – is unprecedented with $10.5 million in projects currently underway this year and a host more in the pipeline.”

Mr Lloyd said Australian horticultural product exports had tracked strongly over the past year with macadamias up 66pc, table grapes up 53pc, mandarins up 54pc and oranges up 40pc.

He said through Taste Australia, the nation’s produce will be positioned as a high-end, high-quality offering that is supported by technology, science and innovation.

“We are taking a loud and clear message to importers throughout Asia and the Middle East: Australia has plenty of premium, high-quality produce, and we are open for business,” he said.

To facilitate long-term relationships, growers were introduced to key decision makers from nine key Asian markets through invitation only business matching sessions managed by HIA with support from Austrade.

Among those in attendance were growers, exporters and service providers from all states and Territories in Australia – including regions such as the Sunraysia, the Adelaide Hills, the Goulburn Valley, South Western Australia and North Queensland – as well as nine industry bodies and collaborative industry groups like Fruit Growers Tasmania.

Taste Australia was launched domestically in Sydney last month as part of Australian horticulture’s biggest trade push in history.



Image source:

News from Asia Fruit Logistica 2017

Asia's importance to the global industry is growing, and the Hong Kong Asia Fruit Logistica Exhibition is growing alongside it, this year by 25%. The development of the Chinese market is one of the drivers of this growth, along with increasing exports from South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to eager markets in Asia and South-east Asia. Improvement and investments in cold chain infrastructure, retail, and services are other drivers of growth.


Click here to see Fresh Plaza's news on Asia Fruit logistica


The world's shipping companies keep growing

The hulking container ships that transport sneakers, bananas and Barbie dolls around the world keep getting bigger. So are the companies that own them.

A massive consolidation is underway in the $500 billion global industry and the survivors now enjoy big economies of scale and increased demand, one year after excess capacity caused the sector’s worst-ever crisis -- the bankruptcy of South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co.

Asia’s largest container line, China’s Cosco Shipping Holdings, last month said it would pay more than $6 billion for rival Orient Overseas International, owner of the world’s biggest vessel - a carrier longer than the Empire State building. Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S is in the process of buying a German competitor and boasts its own fleet of mega ships, including one that can carry about 180 million iPads.

These super-sized shipping companies wield much more pricing power over manufacturers and retailers like Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corp. The five biggest container lines control about 60 percent of the global market, according to data provider Alphaliner. Shipping rates are climbing, and an index tracking cargo rates on major routes from Asia is about 22 percent higher than it was a year earlier.

“Container shipping is now a game only for big boys with deep pockets,” said Corrine Png, chief executive officer at Crucial Perspective, a Singapore-based transportation research firm. The rising market concentration will "give the liners greater pricing and bargaining power,” she predicts.

Hanjin’s collapse, in August last year, upended the industry in much the same way that the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers roiled the financial sector during the 2008 crisis. One of the world’s largest shipping firms at the time, Hanjin faced a cash crunch as supply outstripped demand in the industry, weakening pricing power and profits for carriers. It is now in the process of being liquidated after a South Korean court declared it bankrupt in February.

“Since the demise of Hanjin Shipping, flight to quality has become more noticeable in the container shipping business,” said Um Kyung-a, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities Co. in Seoul. “That’s why the market is becoming more and more dominated by top players with big ships and those that don’t have could become more and more obsolete.”

The growing use of mammoth ships is key to the turnaround. Companies who own them are able to deploy fewer vessels and move more cargo on a single journey to benefit from higher rates, said Um.

By her estimates, there are now about 58 of these huge carriers worldwide that can transport more than 18,000 containers, and the number is expected to double in two years. About half the new vessels will be added by the biggest firms.

Higher Demand
The excess supply that derailed growth last year hasn’t completely disappeared as new entrants expand and as older vessels still remain. Capacity in the container shipping industry is expected to grow 3.4 percent this year and 3.6 percent in 2018, according to Crucial Perspective.

Still, recovery in demand seems to be on track. After posting losses in 2016, companies are seeing signs of business picking up. A.P. Moller-Maersk, which owns the world’s biggest container shipping business, said in May that it has seen strong demand toward the end of the first quarter. Cosco said earlier this month that as conditions improve it expects to report a first-half profit of about 1.85 billion yuan ($276 million), compared with a loss a year ago.

“We forecast global demand growth to outpace supply growth in 2017-2019,” Hong Kong-based analyst Andrew Lee at Jefferies Group LLC said in a note last month.

Holiday Season
Earlier this year, Maersk, South Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. and other shipping lines reached agreements with their customers to raise annual rates from May for cargo headed from Asia to U.S. stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Retailers in the U.S. usually increase inventory during the third quarter, ahead of the year-end holidays, and Lee said freight rates are expected to rise further as the peak season for the container shipping industry kicks off.

For retailers, “if container costs go higher, obviously it’s a headwind," said Brian Yarbrough, an analyst at Edward Jones. "Retailers have three choices: They can pass that through to the customer or find efficiencies to offset that within the organization, or they come out and say gross margins will be pressured due to higher freight costs.”

Big Shipping Deals
In 2015, Cosco Group and China Shipping Group announced a merger to create Asia’s biggest container line, Cosco Shipping Holdings Co.
In 2016, CMA CGM SA bought Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines Ltd.; Maersk agreed to buy Hamburg Süd and Japan’s three shipping companies agreed to consolidate their container shipping businesses.
In 2017, Hapag-Lloyd AG completed its acquisition of United Arab Shipping Co. and Cosco Shipping offered to buy Orient Overseas International of Hong Kong.

Source:  via 

Publication date: 8/21/2017


USDA forecasts rebound for Australian cherries in 2017-18

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has forecast a 60% rise in Australian cherry production in 2017-18 along with a doubling of exports, bouncing back from the effects of poor weather conditions last season.

In its recent “Stone Fruit Annual” report for Australia, the FAS’ Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) reported the nation’s cherry volume could reach 16,000 metric tons (MT), while exports may hit 5,000MT.

“The domestic market has traditionally accounted for over two thirds of production, but exports provide higher returns for growers. A 2016 survey found that the average domestic cherry price for growers was A$7.00 for the domestic market and A$17.00 for exports,” the report said.

“Almost all cherries are exported in the three months from November. Immediately after harvest cherries are hydro-cooled and packed into 2 kilogram and 5 kilogram cartons designed to meet market protocols.”

The report highlighted the importance of Tasmania on the export front, given it is internationally accepted as a fruit fly-free area with significant market access advantages into various countries.

“As a result, Tasmanian cherries do not need to be fumigated and can more easily reach export markets such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan,” the FAS said.

“Hong Kong has been the major export market for Australian cherries partly as it does not require stringent import protocols for biosecurity.

“In recent years, Hong Kong and China have accounted for around half of Australian cherry exports, with the latter market increasing its relative significance as more direct exports occur under new import protocols.”

The report added Australia’s imports of cherries – mainly from the United States – fell to 2,200MT in 2016-17, but were forecast to recover to 2,700MT in 2017-18.

“Almost all cherry imports into Australia are from the United States and from California in particular,” the report said.

“They are mostly marketed from July to September and therefore do not compete directly with Australian grown cherries but provide consumers with a more continuous supply of fruit through the year.

“Australian cherry exports to the United States market are possible under an existing biosecurity protocol
but are not commercially viable due to airfreight costs.”

Hong Kong firm to import Aussie mangoes into Indonesia

Subject to local regulatory approvals, Hong Kong based Plantations International plans to start importing Australian "Kensington Pride" Mangoes into Indonesia says Mr. Marvin Lee
, the director of communications for Plantations International for the Asia Pacific Region. 

According to Mr. Lee, Plantations International has incorporated a local Indonesian subsidiary who will be handling the mango transaction and due to a strong consumer demand that outstrips current supply levels, Indonesia is shaping up as a huge export market for Australian mangoes this year.
According to the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA) the reopening of the Indonesian market is good news for the Australian mango industry, which has set an ambitious goal of exporting 20 per cent of the national crop each year by 2020. Mr Lee, says the Indonesian market has a lot of potential.
The Kensington Pride mango is a named commercial mango cultivar that originated in Australia. It is sometimes called the KP, Bowen or Bowen special. It is Australia's most popular mango, accounting for over 80% of Australia's annual commercial mango market.
In Australia, commercial Kensington Pride mangoes grow predominantly in the Northern Territory and northern and central Queensland, providing early September to November and late season December to February mangoes respectively. Some late-season fruit are from the remote Kununurra region in Western Australia. 
At maturity the Kensington Pride Mangoes are around 500 grams in weight. 
For more information:
Mr. Marvin Lee
Plantations International
Tel: +852 5808 3775

Article source:

Publication date: 6/13/2016

Australian blueberries have hit Indian shelves

The first Australian blueberries exported to India were available in Indian grocery stores last November. The commencement of exports was supported by Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Luke Hartsuyker, on a trip to India, as part of Australia Business Week in India. Mr Hartsuyker said he was pleased the ABWI proved beneficial for Australia’s blueberry industry.

“India was our fifth-largest agricultural export market in 2016-17, with exports valued at $3.1 billion, up 475 per cent since 2011-12. Exports of blueberries will further increase the value of this market to Australia.”

The Kovai Pazhamudir Nilayam Group, established in 1965, is the first importer of Australian blueberries into India. This group serves some 30,000 customers a day.

In 2016, Australia exported $8.9 million worth of blueberries to almost 20 countries, including $4.4 million to Hong Kong. Despite this, pressure still remains on the Federal Government to push for access to the Chinese market.

According to a article, last October, the Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association said it had been made aware of positive progress toward securing market access into China for Australian grown blueberries as both governments have agreed on new horticulture market priorities, which includes blueberries and apples.

Publication date: 1/11/2018