Tasmania’s world-class fresh produce will again be flown across the world to key Asian markets. This is thanks to a seasonal freight service by Cathay Pacific which resumed this week.
The service is operated on an Airbus A350-900 cargo-only passenger plane. The first flight of the service departed Hobart for Hong Kong on Monday evening. It carried a variety of fresh Tasmanian produce, including live lobsters and abalone.
The seasonal service will operate up to four times a week. It will transport highly perishable produce including seafood, cherries and lettuce to key Asian markets. These include:
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- the Philippines.
This is the second year of Cathay Pacific’s seasonal cargo service. It is the first non-charter international carrier to operate a cargo service direct from Hobart since 1998.
Cathay Pacific Head of Cargo for Southwest Pacific Nigel Chynoweth says the service would provide a valuable link for exporters from Hobart to Asia.
‘The resumption of this service shows Cathay Pacific’s continued support of local Australian exporters,’ Chynoweth says. ‘It facilitates the movement of a wide range of fresh produce from Tasmania to various parts of Asia via Hong Kong, one of the world’s busiest cargo logistics hubs.
‘The seasonal flight will operate up to 4 times a week until February next year.’
Service a boost for exporters
Austrade’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) freight controller, Air Vice-Marshal Margaret Staib, says the continuation of the service would be a significant boost for Tasmania.
‘This provides access through Hong Kong to a wide range of connecting international destinations in Southeast and Northern Asia,’ Air Vice-Marshal Staib says.
‘At IFAM, we are committed to rebuilding global air supply chains and helping Australian businesses and the airfreighting sector as they adjust to the COVID-19 environment.
‘The resumption of this seasonal service is a great example of the industry standing on its own two feet and looking to the future, as programs like IFAM will not be around forever.’
Flights a game-changer
Cherry grower Reid Fruits Marketing and Sales Manage Tony Coad says the flights were valuable to the industry last season. He was excited to see them return.
‘The flights were a game-changer last season,’ says Coad. ‘We look forward to using the service again this year.’
‘Demand for Tasmanian cherries has remained strong in our markets across Asia, where they are highly regarded for their premium quality.’
International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM)
The International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) is a temporary, targeted, emergency support measure put in place by the Australian Government to keep global air links open in response to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.