The country’s biggest seafood export, Western rock lobster, has seen sales to China soar over the last four years thanks to the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which has seen tariffs reduce steadily by three per cent increments each year.
"The demand has been huge at Chinese New Year, and we expect this to continue next year, as the tariff will be eliminated completely on January 1st, 2019,” said David Wilkins, Forwarding Director – Perth, Tigers.
"The local fishery is really attuned to Chinese New Year, as the set quota of catch volume resets on January 15theach year.
"Annual demand has remained largely the same, as it is limited by the set quota.”
The new tariff has resulted in the cessation of live air shipments into China via Hanoi, Vietnam, as part of the "grey trade”.
"We’ve seen a preference for shipments travelling directly into mainland Chinese cities,” added Wilkins, "such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Xiamen, with the official reduced import duty facilitating direct entry consignments.”
"Response to the new tariff has already been very positive, and the emergence of direct shipments into the mainland cities rather than Hanoi has allowed us to use a lot more flight options, improving access instead of restricting it.
"The direct flight options have also resulted in total transit time reductions, which is very beneficial when transporting highly sensitive and perishable cargo, such as live lobsters, which can remain out of a tank for a maximum of 30 hours.”
Tiger Fresh transports live seafood by air, as well as frozen and chilled meats, fruits, and dairy products by ocean and air, and wine by land, sea, and air.