The Western Australian Government has announced a flight loaded with pork, beef and vegetables departed Perth today for Singapore, marking the recommencement of an agrifood export trade that has been hammered by capacity restrictions with planes grounded.
About 10 per cent of the value of WA's annual agrifood exports is transported via air freight, worth $804.6 million in 2018-19, which is primarily dependent on cargo capacity available through commercial passenger flights.
More than $50 million of WA agrifood products were airfreighted into Singapore in 2018-19, led by chilled pork.
The McGowan Government has committed up to $624,000 towards temporarily offsetting significantly increased air freight costs and supporting dedicated freight services, ahead of the Federal Government's International Freight Assistance Mechanism.
The Federal Government's package applies to freight leaving Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, and is initially focused on the export markets of mainland China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE.
Funding has been provided to processor Linley Valley Pork as WA's main agrifood exporter into Singapore.
This agreement is subject to up to 30 per cent of the available cargo payload also being made available to other WA agriculture and food products, so that established exporters who have had their supply into Singapore disrupted are able to access available air freight capacity.
"Our international trading partners are vital to the sustainability and prosperity of the WA agriculture and food sector," says WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan.
"With almost no available air cargo capacity for fresh produce out of Perth, the cost of air freight has sky-rocketed, in some cases five times that of pre-Covid-19 pandemic prices.
"The funding supports chartered freight flights into Singapore, helping to offset the current heightened freight costs faced by WA exporters."
Updated at 5:11pm AEST on 22 April 2020.
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