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Department of State Growth

Time sensitive freight

Tasmania’s time sensitive freight market is an important part of the State’s agricultural market, accounting for around 40 per cent of Tasmania’s total agricultural task. It contains many higher value products, including seafood, cherries and berries. It also includes many lower-volume shippers for whom freight costs, service access and reliability, have been identified as key supply chain issues.

Currently, there is no dataset that comprehensively defines and quantifies Tasmania’s time sensitive freight market. Infrastructure Tasmania (ITas) recently completed a consultancy examining production volumes and potential market growth across 28 time sensitive freight commodities. The consultancy included consultation with processors, producers, and freight forwarders. It considered the use of sea and air freight services, and estimated potential export volumes and modal capacity over a five year period.

AgriGrowth Tasmania, the AgriBusiness and Food sector of the Department of State Growth, and Tourism Tasmania provided significant input to the project.

The final consultancy report is available here: (4MB WORD) (2MB PDF)

Tasmania’s time sensitive freight market – key findings:

  • In 2015-16, the estimated volume of time sensitive freight exported from Tasmania was around 772,000 tonnes per annum. On-island production volumes are higher.
  • The average volume of production across the 28 commodities considered in this report is 47,479 tonnes.
  • By export volume, the top three commodities are potatoes, salmon and frozen meat. Salmon and berries are forecast to have the highest growth.
  • Market forecasts were developed under three scenarios, covering a five-year period from 2016-17 to 2020‑21 -
    • Under the highest growth scenario, Tasmania’s time sensitive freight segment is forecast to increase by 48 per cent, and the customer induced segment by seven per cent.
    • Under a more modest growth scenario, the time sensitive freight segment is forecast to increase by 43 per cent and the customer induced segment by one per cent.
  • Around 30 per cent of trailerised freight across Bass Strait is associated with agricultural products (excluding livestock). Salmon is the major driver of growth in trailer volumes.
  • Trailerised freight, using TT-Line, remains the preferred form of interstate transport for time sensitive freight, and is used in part or full by 22 of the 28 commodities analysed.
  • Current and planned investment in new vessels by Toll and SeaRoad will provide sufficient capacity to meet trailer and container demand over the short to medium term.
  • A continued preference to use TT-Line during peak periods will test future capacity for this operator, however analysis indicates only a small shift in demand of around eight per cent is sufficient to moderate peak period flows.
  • The use of air freight remains low, and export price remains a key determinant in the use of air. The analysis did not consider the additional uptake associated with the Van Milk service, which represents a more accurate commercial test regarding the type and volume of products which might use air.