A REFRIGERATED export trial is under way at the Port of Townsville in a bid to deliver fresh produce directly from North Queensland to the world.
Specialty melons grown in the Burdekin are being loaded on to refrigerated shipping containers during the three week trial, to measure optimal harvest time and shelf life validation for sea transportation to Asia.
Port of Townsville trade development manager Maria James said the trial could prove to be a major boost for the north's horticulture sector.
"At present growers in North Queensland send their produce south for export, which adds to their supply chain costs and delivery time," Ms James said.
"The success of this trial could assist the region's growers by reducing transportation costs and ensuring their customers are getting faster fresher produce, boosting the capacity and sustainability of North Queensland's horticultural sector."
Global shipping line ANL have provided use of the container for the trial, along with expertise and guidance in refrigerated logistics.
ANL chief commercial officer Shane Walden said they were pleased to be involved with the innovative project.
"Australia has progressed to be thought of as the food bowl of Asia and we want to ensure our premium quality produce is enjoyed by all - it's channels like these that help promote our grower's product," Mr Walden said.
"Leveraging ANL's refrigerated containers and value-added-services such as Controlled Atmosphere and Cold Sterilisation in Transit (CSIT), exporters can protect the quality of their commodities by managing influencing factors like CO2, humidity, ventilation and temperature.
"ANL's broad coverage also provides opportunity for customers to export to South East Asia and beyond.
"Servicing the major hubs of Singapore and Port Kelang, customers can tranship their cargo anywhere in the world.
"By working together with local industry on projects like the sea-freighted melon trial, we hope to build farmer's confidence in sea freighted logistics and encourage growth in refrigerated container exports."
The project is funded through the Queensland Government Growing Queensland's Food Exports pilot program .