Exports rise in value, volume

The 2018/19 trade figures are now in and the results speak for themselves. Fresh horticulture exports have exceeded expectations yet again, with the sixth record-breaking year in a row. Fresh fruit and vegetable exports surpassed $1.6 billion, representing a 20% increase in value and 8% improvement in volume from the previous year.

Table grapes have been the standout commodity, with over half a billion dollars of fruit exported and achieving the title of the first fruit commodity to reach this mark. Vegetable exports rose a solid 10%, with onions regaining ground and achieving export volumes not seen for several years. More recently, an excellent season is currently being reported for Queensland mandarins with high quality fruit and strong prices. We expect this will bolster trade export volumes over the coming year for this commodity.

China has maintained its position as the number one trading partner for fresh Australian fruit by both volume and value. Table grapes significantly contributed to this result, however improved pathways for both summerfruit and cherries have helped solidify this trade destination. For fresh vegetable exports, Singapore took out the top position for value, while carrot exports to United Arab Emirates pushed this market to the number one position for volume.

Half a year has now passed since enhanced air cargo security measures were implemented. Reports coming in from industry members and participants of the Air Cargo Security Advisory Forum (ACSIAF) held earlier this year indicate the transition was smoother than expected with no major impediments with the exception of higher operational costs.

Around the Brisbane ports, some stevedore and shipping line problems associated with capacity issues have been experienced, however these are hoped to be addressed prior to next year.

Moving forward, the AHEIA is preparing to host industry information-exchange meetings in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne markets for members, exporters and importers alike. More information will be provided on this on due course. We hope to see and hear your views on issues affecting your businesses.

Author: Andréa Magiafoglou (CEO Australia Horticultural Exporters' and Importers' Association)

Source: Brisbane Markets Fresh Source Magazine

Australian stonefruit rides high

Exports climb to record levels over 2018/19 season, with shipments to mainland China propelling the growth

It’s been a vintage season for Australian stonefruit exports, with volumes climbing to 22,861 tonnes between July 2018 and April 2019, according to data prepared by Fresh Intelligence Consulting.

The performance betters the previous record of 20,600 tonnes set in 2003 for the 10-month period, within which the bulk of Australia’s stonefruit harvest and exports take place.

The 2018/19 volume represents a 29 per cent increase on the 2017/18 campaign, while the overall value of trade (A$88.68m in 2018/19) rose 37 per cent year-on-year.

Mainland China continues to emerge as a focal point for the Australian industry, with exports to the Asian nation climbing 88 per cent year-on-year to 9,348 tonnes over the 2018/19 campaign. This translated to a market share of 40.9 per cent.

Singapore ranked second on the list of export destinations by volume, taking 2,530 tonnes, 5 per cent up on 2017/18.

Strong export growth was reported in Saudi Arabia (volumes up 42 per cent to 1,957 tonnes) and Indonesia (up 60 per cent to 993 tonnes).

Peaches and nectarines accounted for 69 per cent of the export shipments, while plums represented 29 per cent.

Peak industry body Summerfruit Australia (SAL) recently appointed Trevor Ranford as its new chief executive. Ranford replaces John Moore, who will continue to work with SAL on improving export market access for Australian growers.

Ranford has over 40 years of experience in the horticulture industry, including various executive roles with organisations in the pipfruit and cherry industries.

Click here to see graph


Author: Matthew Jones


Australian vegetable export data shows strong growth

Australian vegetable exports rose by more than 15 percent last year, mainly due to strong international demand. Back home though, retailers and consumers are reporting higher prices than normal for vegetables at the store level.

The export figures, recently released by Ausveg, show fresh vegetable exports grew to $281 million in 2018 on the back of healthy growth in key export markets in Singapore (7.5% value growth), Japan (8.7% value growth) and Thailand (54% value growth).

The total volume of Australian fresh vegetable exports increased 15.5% to 227,000 tons, with increases across most major markets, again including Singapore, Japan and Thailand.

Carrots remained the strongest export performer in 2018 at 113,000 tons, increasing in value by 5.1% to $98m. Some other key vegetable exports included potatoes, onions, celery, broccoli and cauliflower, which all increased in value and volume in 2018.

Ausveg national manager - export development, Michael Coote, said the organisation's Vegetable Industry Export Program, in partnership with Hort Innovation, continues to support the solid growth in fresh vegetable exports.

Coote said the vegetable industry was well on its way to reaching the target of $315m in fresh vegetable exports by 2020 as outlined by the industry's export strategy.

Source: via 

Australia ratifies CPTPP

Joining five other nations, Australia’s commitment has triggered a 60-day countdown to tariff reductions
On 31 October, Australia became the sixth country to ratify its position in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11, and also known as the CPTPP).

Joining Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore in the first group to ratify the agreement means a majority sign-on triggers a 60-day countdown to the first round of tariff cuts.

The first tariff cuts under the agreement will enter into force on 30 December 2018. A second reduction will occur three days later on 1 January 2019.

For Australia, tariff reductions to Mexico are expected to benefit the horticulture sector, and the broader agriculture industry will see improved access.

Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam are also part of the agreement, but are yet to ratify their positions.

ExportNZ executive director Catherine Beard is pleased by the ratification and looming tariff reductions.

"CPTPP brings Japan, Canada and Mexico into a trade deal with New Zealand for the first time. These countries have large markets that will now become progressively open to New Zealand goods and services, improving New Zealand’s trade earnings,” she said.

"Other country members of CPTPP will now also offer terms of trade more favourable to New Zealand exports.”

The New Zealand government expects items like buttercup squash into Japan to become tariff-free; onions to Japan to have tariffs removed within the next six years; and tariffs in other countries to be eliminated on a number of items like cherries, radish, carrot seed, kiwifruit, and avocado.

Source: Author: Camellia Aebischer 

Singapore's Changi airport registered double-digit cargo shipment growth in May over the prior year

Singapore's Changi airport registered double-digit cargo shipment growth in May over the prior year

Cargo shipments increased by double digits for the second month this year, with improvements broad-based across exports, imports and transshipments, the website said.

Air freight to and from the US, Germany and Japan saw particularly strong growth, thanks to the recovery of industrial activities in these countries, the Stat Times said.

As of 1 June 2017, more than 100 airlines operate at Changi Airport, connecting Singapore to some 380 cities in about 90 countries and territories worldwide.

Source: Author: Luisa Cheshire


Melon growers look to Asia with one of the best Western Australia harvests in years.

Melon growers in Carnarvon, 800 kilometres north of Perth, have touted the 2017 mid-year season as one of the best seasons in years.

Carnarvon fruit grower Graham Kuzmicich, alongside his brother Anthony, have been growing melons in the Gascoyne since taking over the family farm about 25 years ago.

Mr Kuzmicich said he had seen some great melon seasons in that time, but with consistent and favourable weather conditions this mid-year season is his "best result for quality, quantity and price for quite a while".

"I think we're about 20, 30 per cent up on yields," he said.

"I've changed my fertiliser program a little bit with some more organic matter and I think it's definitely helped with the uptake of nutrients from the ground."

In addition to the increase in yields, Mr Kuzmicich said prices were also above average, largely due to Cyclone Debbie.

"Somebody's loss is somebody else's gain, unfortunately for them," Mr Kuzmicich said.

"We went through it a few years ago, we had the cyclone and the flood within a five-year period, which was tough for us, and I know what they're going through."

Asia in sight

In an effort to increase their sales volumes, Graham and Anthony Kuzmicich have been looking to Asia to market their fruit.

Mr Kuzmicich says it has been a "bit of a tug-of-war" with the price, however he is now sending a few thousand trays of melons to Singapore each month. "Our local distributors in Perth do a great job, but the Perth market realistically is quite small, so we feel that we have to source other avenues," Mr Kuzmicich said.

The Kuzmicichs have been sending a few thousand trays of melons each month, and achieving supermarket shelf prices double that of Australian prices.

Graham Kuzmicich said, while the shipments had been small, he had sourced another supplier and this year's quantities would be substantial.

However despite attracting a premium price for his fruit, Mr Kuzmicich said the freight cost shipping melons to Singapore was more than seven or eight times higher than to Perth.

"The transport to get to Singapore we can do it two ways, you can either do it by ship or by air freight.

"Obviously air freight's a lot more expensive than going with a ship, but they prefer it to go by air freight so trying to organise the right company at the right price [is a challenge], because it's very expensive per tray to export."

After relative success in the Singaporean market, Mr Kuzmicich has set his sights on expanding further into Asia, and believed there were opportunities for other growers around the state.

"We're maybe going to look to Japan, which I think Western Australia should be looking at, not just with melons but with a lot of fruits and vegetables, so that's something we might look at for our next growing period in November, December."

Source: ABC Rural - WA Country Hour Author: Michelle Stanley

Image: Pixabay ImagesBG

Singapore ‘eCommerce AirHub’ unveiled

Automated US$15m facility aims to expand and streamline sortation of e-retail shipments for airport cargo handler SATS

Singapore airport cargo handling and ground handling specialist SATS has unveiled a S$21 million (US$15m) ‘eCommerce AirHub’ at Singapore’s Changi airport.

The new 6,000sqm facility was co-funded by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and is intended to enhance Changi’s e-commerce mail sorting capability to support the growing e-commerce market. The company said new features and innovations would also improve productivity and enable airport workers to acquire new skills.

“By deploying state-of-the-art technology, SATS has multiplied mailbag processing capacity by more than three times and streamlined the mail sortation process to deliver quicker turnaround for international e-commerce mail,” the company said. “Processing time is now reduced by 50%. At the same time, automation has provided opportunity for employee upskilling.”

It said SATS was currently the only ground handler in the region to operate such an automated airside facility.

Alex Hungate, president and CEO of SATS said: “eCommerce is expected to continue on its growth trajectory in the region and beyond with continued strong consumer demand. The SATS eCommerce AirHub enhances the competitiveness of the whole air freight industry in Singapore by offering greater speed and transparency, as well as higher capacity to handle future growth.”

Kevin Shum, director-general of CAAS, said: “CAAS is pleased to support the establishment of the eCommerce AirHub under the Aviation Development Fund. Such collaborations are part of our efforts to transform Singapore Aviation, make the sector more efficient and competitive, create better jobs, and improve productivity using technology.”

At the official opening of the SATS eCommerce AirHub last week, the company unveiled several new innovations. These include a fully automated mail sortation system that increases the mailbag processing capacity of SATS to more than 1,800 an hour – up from 500 previously. Additionally, due to interface integration with SingPost’s airmail consignment operations and the facility’s locality within the free-trade zone on the airside, mail sortation operation is streamlined to eliminate the need for mailbags to be transported to and from the hub.

The combination of these factors has enabled faster mailbag processing that reduces turnaround time by 50% – from six hours to three – “thus allowing international eCommerce mail to connect to an earlier flight for faster delivery”, SATS pointed out.

“Traceability is also improved at the SATS eCommerce AirHub, as customers, such as SingPost, can now better track and trace their mail via the data interface, for example checking connection status by confirming arrival and departure times,” SATS highlighted.

Woo Keng Leong, CEO for Postal Services at SingPost, said: “The improved efficiency and tracking from our collaboration with SATS will enhance SingPost’s international mail operations amid Singapore’s growing importance as an eCommerce logistics hub.”

As well as improving service, SATS said its eCommerce AirHub would also be more productive. “Airmail consignment operations are targeted to be at least 30% more efficient with full automation,” the handler said.

Recognising that employees are key to operational success, SATS said it had implemented comprehensive training programmes for the team running the new facility. “Already familiar with apron and cargo operations, members were trained in new functions to help them acquire additional skills,” the company said. “This has enabled them to confidently manage the latest mail sortation technology and implement the new integrated process for sorting of eCommerce mail.”

To date, eight cargo equipment operators – who initially performed driving functions – have had their jobs enlarged to become ‘eHub Specialists’. “They learnt new skills such as controlling the new processes through a touch-screen, monitoring and managing exceptions, as well as data management for traceability of mail,” SATS explained. “The new facility also facilitated transfers for 10 other Cargo Operations Assistants to become eHub Specialists, thus enhancing their careers through broader experiences within the business.”

Hungate said the facility had been designed to accommodate the future growth expected from the continuing rapid expansion of e-retail globally and regionally, noting: “With ever-increasing eCommerce mail volumes, SATS has deliberately designed this eCommerce AirHub to be modular so that we can increase throughput even further with only incremental investment.”

Southeast Asian neighbour Malaysia has also been investing in its e-commerce fulfilment capacity. Despite holding an investment stake in Singapore’s SingPost, Chinese retail giant Alibaba in March, become the launch partner for Malaysia’s new Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ), described as the first trade zone outside China designed specifically to meet the logistics requirements of e-commerce. In its first phase, Malaysia Airports Holdings and Alibaba will work together to develop a regional e-fulfilment hub at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where Alibaba subsidiaries already have a logistics presence.

Due to start operations by the end of the year, the DFTZ will serve as a centralized customs clearance, warehousing and fulfilment facility for Malaysia and the ASEAN region, helping speed up imports and exports. Alibaba’s logistics platform Cainiao said the key purpose for establishing this e-fulfilment hub in Malaysia was “to help connect SMEs to world markets via an efficient and cost-effective platform, so they can benefit from a network effect as more and more e-hubs join the platform. It will help overcome the limitation of the more traditional single linear model in the past that tends to connect just one market to the world.”

Underpinning the hub is a data platform that will enable both B2C and B2B enterprises to overcome hurdles such as customs clearance, Cainiao said, helping to “lay the foundation for achieving our goal of 72-hour delivery for anywhere in the world”.

In the project’s second phase, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Catcha Group, the master developer of Kuala Lumpur Internet City (KLIC), are set to collaborate in building a 500,000sqm digital hub in Bandar Malaysia – a project with an estimated gross development value of US$1.13 billion. Developers hope KLIC will eventually house some 1,000 internet-related firms and become a leading regional digital hub for global and local internet-related companies targeting southeast Asia.


Author: Will Waters | Thursday, 20 April 2017