HUNDREDS of tonnes of frozen beef will be shipped from the Port of Townsville after JBS Australia secured a more efficient supply route to Asian markets.
It is the first time in over a decade that JBS has exported frozen beef from Townsville as the company looks to capitalise on international demand.
Shipping giant ANL has worked with JBS for the last year to develop and secure future meat exports from Townsville, with the first refrigerated containers leaving in May.
The Hansa Regensburg is expected to dock in Townsville tomorrow to collect the latest shipment, bound for Japan.
JBS Northern Chief Operating Officer Anthony Pratt said the new freight service would allow JBS to better serve producers in the region, with products delivered directly and more efficiently to international customers.
"The JBS Townsville plant provides a valuable option for North Queensland cattle producers to supply grass-fed cattle for processing in the region,'' Mr Pratt said.
"The plant processes roughly 145,000 cattle per year, supports 508 full-time equivalent jobs and contributes over $600 million to the local economy.''
ANL General Manager Intra Oceania Trades Chris Peck said he believed beef exports to Asia had a strong future.
"ANL has a great partnership with the agricultural sector and sees Australian beef exports, specifically those into North East Asia as a key commodity with proud history and a strong future," Mr Peck said.
Townsville Port Chief Operating Officer Drew Penny said the new venture was a strong sign that infrastructure investments made at the Port of Townsville to grow containerised cargo was supporting industry needs.
"Japan is a very important trading partner for our region, and we are thrilled to have JBS exporting directly out of Townsville,'' Mr Penny said.
"We are committed growing agriculture exports directly from Townsville to support our customers, farmers and industries in North Queensland, and we thank JBS for their confidence and support in our shipping lines and port facilities.''
JBS is the second processor to recommence shipping frozen beef from Townsville.
Mackay abattoir, Thomas Borthwick & Sons (Australia) Pty Ltd, were the first to send frozen beef from the Port of Townsville in over a decade when they sent 18 tonnes to Asia last October.
Bothwicks process about 2400 head of cattle a week, mainly for Chinese and Japanese markets, and commenced a trial from Townsville as a northern supply chain alternative.
That company exports about 30 containers a week.