ICHCA South Australia recently held a successful industry event at The Lakes Resort Hotel in Adelaide. Justin Ross, director, strategy, policy and analytics at the South Australian Department for Trade and Investment (DTI) was the keynote speaker. More than 40 guests from the freight and logistics industry attended the event and heard Mr Ross discuss the following topics.

The impacts the COVID disruption has had on South Australia’s exports and particularly the air freight challenges and government and industries responses to COVID. SA government’s focus has been to consult with industry on policy and financial support with a particular focus on airfreight exports as international air travel virtually came to a halt.

The SA government established the Export Recovery Taskforce to focus on the federally established International Freight Assistance Mechanism to support airfreight exporters. The COVID outbreak saw airfreight leakages from interstate capitals (largely Melbourne and Sydney) resulting in an increase of 40% to 60% of all SA airfreight through Adelaide airport. DTI sponsored a study into export supply chains which found that exporters need to better understand their supply chains and associated risks. Industries across the state need to build capacity and supply chain resilience across their export products mix.

Mr Ross discussed the decisions China made regarding market access for SA’s key export products and how that has impacted on the state. Where exporters have been affected, they have been remarkable at adapting to these changes including developing new markets for barley such as the Middle East. There haven’t been any market access issues for iron ore, copper and meat. Improvements in price for these commodities have seen an increase in revenue which has masked a decline in export revenues that haven’t been able to adapt to market access issues of commodities such as wine and lobster.

As a result of these disruptions the government has taken several actions to minimise the effect on SA’s export trade. The government continues to work with industry across all areas of trade including looking at trading technologies and retail platforms as online retailing continues to increase. This includes helping the adaption of B2B platforms and B2C environments. The government also continues to collaborate with Austrade and other federal and state departments.

ICHCA Australia thanks Mr Ross for highlighting these issues and the industry looks forward to working with DTI and the SA government to maximise trade in an out of South Australia under these difficult circumstances.