Fresh flights ensure more fresh Australian food for Hong Kong
(7 May 2020) – The Australian Government has today added a new weekly flight to Hong Kong under its International Freight Assistance Mechanism.
Starting today Qantas will fly from Brisbane, via Cairns, carrying 45 tonnes of seafood from Tropical North Queensland for the Hong Kong market. Today’s flight extends the freight services, following flights chartered by the Australian Government since 1 April enabling fresh produce from Australia to still be available in Hong Kong.
The Australian Government launched its International Freight Assistance Mechanism on 1 April in response to the impact of freight transport challenges caused by COVID-19 on Australian fresh produce exports. With an injection of A$110 million (HK$522 million), the new mechanism supports Australian agriculture and fisheries exporters by coordinating freight flights to export high-quality produce into key overseas markets, which includes Hong Kong. The IFAM is being led by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade).
Other key markets in the initial phase will include mainland China, Japan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Eligible export products include:
- seafood, including lobsters
- premium red meat, including beef and pork
- dairy, including fresh milk and yoghurt
- horticulture, including premium fruits and packaged salad or vegetables.
"Today’s flight from Cairns will see lobster, trout and other seafood delicacies being available in the Hong Kong market from tomorrow, just in time for Mother’s Day this weekend," commented Shannon Powell, Austrade’s Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, and Deputy Consul General (Commercial) at the Australian Consulate in Hong Kong.
"With a steady schedule of Australian Government chartered flights to Hong Kong over the past 3 weeks, Australia has played a critical role in ensuring the stable supply of fresh food here in Hong Kong. We will continue to operate these flights until commercial capacity can be restored again," she said. "We are doing everything possible to help our high-value agricultural and fisheries exporters get their produce on airplanes and into overseas markets, like Hong Kong. The addition of Cairns is very much welcome and we are currently to work with exporters and buyers to assess demand for freight from other Australian ports."
Australians in Hong Kong who are seeking to return home are currently still able to do so via limited scheduled commercial passenger flights.
*Images provided by Austrade