Hong Kong flight takes food from paddock to plate in a day
A VEGETABLE grower is excited about the prospect of his product going from the ground to the dinner plates of Hong Kong within 24 hours.
Geoffrey Story is among many from Toowoomba and the region who are preparing to tap into the lucrative Asian market.
As the first international freight flight out of Wellcamp airport prepares for lift-off on Monday, companies say it will be a game-changer.
In a trial run for freight transport out of the region, a Cathay Pacific Airways Boeing 747-800F will fly to Hong Kong packed full of Darling Downs produce.
Story Fresh has farms at Cambooya, Grantham and Clifton and is looking to break into the export market.
The company already exports on Cathay Pacific from Brisbane but said Wellcamp would be logistically more convenient.
"We see the opportunity for this airport to do it better because we're closer and we can get product there quicker."
He said Australia had a good reputation for high quality and standard of food.
The plane will also carry 14 tonnes of high quality chilled Black Angus grain fed steak.
Warwick beef producer Rangers Valley is another of the companies taking the opportunity to use the service.
It will ship to Hong Kong on Monday with about half going to food service like high end restaurants and the rest being sold in retail stores.
The company has been selling products in Hong Kong for about a decade and usually uses the Cathay service out of Brisbane.
Andrew Moore is marketing manager from the company's Warwick office and called the flight a great opportunity for producers.
"Once all the infrastructure is in place at Wellcamp there will be transport advantages.
"It's great to be part of this first shipment to see how it works."
Over the past 12 months, the company has air freighted about 700 tonnes of high quality chilled Wagyu and Black Angus grain fed beef to customers across the globe.
Mr Moore said the ultimate plan was to use Hong Kong as a hub to export beef products across Asia.
The flight arrives at 2.30pm. A public viewing area will be established.