The Queensland Government committed $20 million from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund to support delivery of regional trade distribution centres in Cairns and Toowoomba.
Following a competitive selection process, Wagner Group Holdings from Toowoomba and Air Freight Handling Services (AFHS) from Cairns were selected to develop the centres.
The trade distribution centres will boost agricultural export capacity, generate jobs and improve productivity throughout the agricultural supply chain, capitalising on Queensland’s global reputation as a leader in the production and processing of quality agricultural produce.
Queensland’s agricultural industries make a vital contribution to the lives of Queenslanders, with the sector delivering almost $20 billion annually to the economy and supporting more than 300,000 jobs – more than one in eight working Queenslanders.
The sector is well-placed to meet export demand from a growing global middle class for high-quality, fresh and sustainably produced meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables.
Toowoomba Wellcamp Trade Distribution Centre
The Toowoomba Wellcamp Trade Distribution Centre was officially opened in July 2021.
The facility is regional Queensland’s largest fresh food exporting hub with a gross floor area of 4,000 square metres. Included is 1,500 square metres of state-of-the-art refrigerated storage, freezer rooms and temperature-controlled transit areas as well as large transit and covered external storage areas.
Developed alongside the Wellcamp Airport and Business Park, the facility is facilitating the export of fresh produce including chilled meat, milk, eggs, brassicas, apples, apricots, strawberries and avocados and other goods.
The facility is streamlining the paddock-to-freight process for graziers and growers throughout the Toowoomba and Downs regions.
Construction of the Toowoomba centre was managed by Queensland-based Hutchinson Builders, supported 170 workers, with further jobs created through the supply chain and at the facility now it is operational.
Cairns Regional Trade Distribution Centre
AFHS is building a new dedicated facility located at the Cairns Airport. Construction of the facility commenced in early 2022 and is expected to be operational by the end of the year.
The Cairns facility will target fresh export produce including fish and crustaceans (live and frozen), avocadoes, mangoes, melons, citrus and blueberries, with capacity for future expansion.
The Queensland Government has worked closely with AFHS to support development of the Cairns centre to assist them and other fresh food exporters in Far North Queensland to recover from significant business disruption since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During construction, the project is supporting local construction jobs with a range of on-site trades, with further operational jobs and business opportunities to be generated throughout the supply chain once the facility is up and running.
When completed, the Cairns distribution centre will be well positioned to respond quickly to economic recovery and future growth in international demand for Queensland’s fresh produce.
Cairns Regional Trade Distribution Centre artist impression