PLANS by the Rockhampton Regional Council to establish the region as a “transport and logistics hub” could deliver significant benefits for the beef industry.
According to AgForce transport committee chair, Leo Neill-Ballantine, a trial air freight project had real potential for chilled beef products from the Rockhampton region.
“Demand for the high quality food and fibre we produce is growing, but transport can make up 30 to 40 per cent of the cost of production, so any developments that provide more options to get farm goods to market is always welcome,’ he said.
“Air freight is more expensive, but it could prove attractive for use with premium products that require faster delivery, such as chilled premium beef.
“The freight operators would also need to be commercially competitive with other centres like the Brisbane West airport at Toowoomba.
“More air freight could also mean less trucks on the roads, which is always a good thing on our ageing road network.”
Mr Neill-Ballantine said it was good to see governments at all levels looking at opportunities to improve the primary production supply chain.
“This air freight announcement comes only weeks after type-one road trains began rolling through Rockhampton to deliver cattle directly to the processor,” he said.
“The improved Rockhampton road train access means producers sending their cattle from Central and North Queensland benefit from lower transport costs, safer livestock transport and better meat quality in their herd.
“Trialing air freight now has the potential to open the door for more export opportunities for Central Queensland beef producers, and we wholeheartedly welcome the Rockhampton Regional Council’s decision.”