First Aussie seafreight apples about to hit mainland China
The first ever Australian apple seafreight container bound for mainland China is currently on its way and due to arrive in Shanghai later this week.
Southern Tasmanian grower Scott Brothers sent 1,470 cartons of its newly developed variety Tiger Fuji earlier in June using Hansen Orchard's marketing arm Apple Isle Tasmania as the exporter.
Scott Brothers managing director Andrew Scott told www.freshfruitportal.com he hoped this shipment would be the first of many to the Asian country.
"We're hopeful of being able to establish a good relationship with our importer and to develop a long-standing business relationship from Tasmania to China. That's the intention," he said.
Scott said he expected the shipment of 17.6 metric tons (MT) of the Tiger Fuji apples to arrive in mainland China on Friday.
The Tiger Fuji variety - sold with a logo featuring the extinct Tasmanian tiger - was developed by Scott Brothers over about 10 years, and is aptly named for its stripy appearance.
"It was developed to be an apple with good shelf life. It's very sweet with firm flesh, and it has a skin finish that really shines to make it more appealing to the eye. It also colors well in our climate," Scott said.
Scott went on to say he hoped the quality and safety guarantee of Tasmanian apples would encourage Chinese consumers to pay a higher price for the imported fruit.
"Tasmania's very unique in its climate - it's got a strong maritime climate which apples love. And we have a unique pest and food disease status, so the fruit’s very clean," he said.
"All our resources we use - the fresh air, the sunlight, the water we use for irrigation - it's all very fresh and unpolluted, and that helps us grow what we believe is a superior product.
"Also the soil type that we have, especially in the traditional fruit regions of Tasmania, enables us to grow fruit that has longer shelf life than fruit grown in other regions around the world."
Scott said there was a lot of interest from other growers in the island state as to whether shipping containers to mainland China was viable for them too.
"I think it’s fair to say the industry can see a new direction opening up for it in China, and we'll do our best to try and make this business work, to make it viable for the producers here and indeed for the marketers and importers in China," he said.
"We'll be open with our discussions with other growers to try and encourage them, or tell them the pitfalls of doing so, and hopefully our state can develop as an industry and we can develop a good relationship and a good business model."
The orchard's apples were also shipped to Hong Kong last year, and Scott said they would be packing another 40-foot container to the city-state on Monday.
Fellow Tasmanian apple producer Hansen Orchards sent the first ever Australian airfrieght shipment to mainland China in April, which was comprised of 210 boxes of Royal Gala apples.