Hobart Airport has signed specialist cold chain management and general freight forwarding firm Link Logistics as the first tenant at the gateway’s new freight handling facility and commercial precinct.
An initial A$13 million investment has been made at the Tasmanian airport, which is set to unlock opportunities for local producers, allowing them to freight their produce directly from Hobart to export destinations following completion of the first phase of the project in December.
Hobart Airport chief executive officer, Sarah Renner said unlocking markets for local producers looking to meet the growing demand for Tasmania’s world-renowned produce around the country and further abroad was the driving force behind the project.
“Currently Tasmanian producers of goods for export are required to have their freight delivered to the north-west coast by truck, from there it is loaded onto a ship and taken to Melbourne or Sydney, before being transferred onto an aircraft and delivered to the country of destination by air,” Renner said.
“Once the freight handling facility and commercial precinct are operational, Tasmanian export businesses have a very attractive and efficient option. Growers of high-value, high quality produce will truly be able to put their best foot forward in delivering to market.”
Link Logistics Tasmanian managing director, Chris Fox said the company was building a state-of-the-art cold store to take advantage of the direct export markets set to open up from construction of the facility.
“Link Logistics is investing more than $3 million in the new freight forwarding and cold store facility,” Fox said. “It will be the only one in Tasmania with 1,000 square metres of freezer and 735 square metres of chiller space.”
He added: “The new cold store will enable planes to land, be filled with Tasmanian produce and be sent directly to their destination allowing market-sensitive produce such as fresh seafood, meat and fruit to be sent quickly and directly.”
Fox said the cold store is environmentally friendly and will see a significant reduction in greenhouse gases, compared to current conventional systems.
“The movement of perishable cargo is not just a transport transaction. Maintaining product quality and maximising shelf life is paramount. Link Logistics can also ensure quality control, product grading and sorting, racking, cooling, branding and labelling,” he said.
In addition to the construction of three warehouses, Phase 1 of the project will set up the precinct for further growth by establishing a road network and opening the rest of the land for the construction of more warehouses in the future.
Tenancies of up to 2,000 square metres in size are available in the precinct, located approximately 800 metres south of the main terminal access road, providing exporters with airside access and multi-purpose storage and packaging facilities, significantly reducing the time from harvest to market for producers.
Renner said Hobart Airport will remain in discussions with local producers, freight forwarders and freighters throughout the development of the freight and commercial precinct to ensure the creation of a facility which best services the needs of all parties involved.
“This is only the beginning, we believe this addition to Hobart Airport will open many future opportunities for Tasmanians,” she said. “While international flights are not currently part of our service offering at Hobart Airport, we continue to work closely with airlines and the State Government to investigate potential international flight and freight opportunities.”