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Cairns trade distribution centre opens to create logistics hub

Far North Queensland’s new distribution centre is set to give the area a logistics boost following its recent opening in Cairns

Trade in Far North Queensland is set to increase following the opening of the Regional Trade Distribution Centre in Cairns to create a logistics hub for produce in the region.

The Queensland government invested $10 million through the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund to deliver this facility for the Far North.

Located at the Cairns Airport freight precinct, the 2400-square-metre facility houses large cold and freezer rooms, temperature-controlled spaces and ambient transit areas, with capacity for future expansion.

Operations will enable fresh produce including fish and crustaceans (live and frozen), avocadoes, mangoes, melons, citrus and blueberries to be seamlessly and safely exported to international markets, especially throughout Asia.

The Queensland government says the facility will boost aquacultural and agricultural produce export capacity, generate jobs and improve productivity throughout the industry supply chain.

It will also capitalise on Queensland’s global reputation as a leader in the production and processing of high-quality produce.

The Queensland government worked closely with Air Freight Handling Services (AFHS) to support the development of the Cairns centre that will assist them and fresh food exporters in the region to recover from the significant business disruption caused by the pandemic.

During construction, the project supported more than 200 workers in a range of local trades across more than 40 companies, with further operational jobs and business opportunities to be generated now that the facility is up and running.

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The distribution centre is Queensland’s second state-supported regional export hub, following the completion last year of the trade distribution facility in Toowoomba.

“This centre unlocks the economic potential of the food bowl that is Far North Queensland,” Queensland treasurer Cameron Dick says.

“The RTDC will become a vital piece of Queensland’s freight and export network, supporting the quick response to economic recovery and future growth in international demand for Queensland’s fresh produce.”

In 2021-22, Cairns Airport exported food and agricultural products valued at $40.4 million, with Dick saying the centre has the potential to push these numbers higher in the years ahead.

“Despite the disruptions of the past few years, in 2021-22 Queensland’s agriculture and food exports were valued at $10.7 billion, including air freight exports of food valued at $500 million,” Dick says.

“Every box of Queensland produce that flies out of Cairns in the hold of an aircraft is an opportunity to bring even more tourists in from both domestic and international markets.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy says the distribution centre is a major milestone for the Far North Queensland area.

“With the Regional Trade Distribution Centre Cairns, we have a huge opportunity to showcase FNQ’s wonderful produce further than ever before,” Healy says.

“Queensland’s agricultural industries make a vital contribution to the lives of Queenslanders with the sector delivering more than $23 billion annually to the economy and supporting more than 370,000 jobs.

“The completion of this centre will not only boost freight access for Far North Queensland, giving confidence to local businesses and creating more local jobs, but this will also create additional revenue for airlines by increasing cargo.”

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