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Aussie exporters need more efficient supply chains

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Greater efficiency in the infrastructure networks that support Australian food exports could reduce major congestion in our cities and reduce costs for exporters, say supply chain experts.  

Speaking at ABARES 44th Outlook Conference in Canberra, ABARES Analyst, Lindsay Hogan told delegates all supply chain participants can benefit from increased airfreight food exports.  

“In 2011-12, only 5 per cent of Australia’s $30.5 billion worth of food exports was exported by air, Ms Hogan said.  

“Air transport expands supply chain options for farmers and food producers, particularly for high value food products that are time sensitive. This is most important for fisheries products, unprocessed fruit and vegetables and livestock-based food.”  

Ms Hogan said meat and meat products are key growth areas. The value of airfreight exports of meat and meat products increased by 6.2 per cent a year, on average, between 2005-06 and 2011-12.  

“Importantly, increasing the efficiency of our export supply chains provides farmers and food processors with the economic incentives they need to invest in food production,” she said.  

Russell Smith from the Port of Brisbane added: “Australia’s east coast export supply chain is not operating efficiently. The lack of adequate rail options is hurting our competitiveness on a global stage – something that will quickly worsen with time.”  

Mr Smith said developments like the Australian Government’s proposed inland rail project, the first stage of which needs to include a new dedicated freight rail system between the port of Brisbane and Toowoomba, will be key.  

“We have a highly efficient, high capacity port in Brisbane, which can be better exploited, if it is supported landside by an efficient road, rail and coastal shipping chain,” he said.   

*Australian Bureau of Agricultural & Resource Economics & Sciences (ABARES) is a research bureau within the Department of Agriculture. ABARES provides independent research, analysis and advice for government and private sector decision-makers on significant issues affecting Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries.

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