Toowoomba and Cairns are both on track to become export hotspots following the decision to fund two multimillion-dollar regional trade distribution centres (RTDCs) instead of one.

The new centres are a Queensland Government initiative to boost access to overseas markets for agricultural producers, stimulate high-value farming and processing, and create jobs in regional Queensland.

Toowoomba and Cairns each reached the last phase of a competitive selection process that began in May 2018, with one centre originally on offer.

Toowoomba’s Wagner Group Holdings and Cairns business Air Freight Handling Services each submitted business cases to locate the centre at their local airports. The government has now announced that both centres will receive funding.

Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said Wagners planned to expand an existing distribution centre at the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, adding 3,000 square metres to the facility.

‘The expansion will comprise four state-of-the-art large cold rooms, a temperature-controlled store room, a store room and an external storage area,’ he said.

‘The new facility will be used to process premium export goods including beef, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, pork and packaged nuts.’

In Cairns, Air Freight Handling Services will construct a new state-of-the-art 3,400 square metre facility at Cairns International Airport.

Mr Dick said the Cairns centre would boost access to markets in Asia, Europe and other global markets for Queensland’s primary producers.

‘As well as creating jobs, the centre will allow North Queensland’s fruit and seafood industries along with a range of other industries improved access to international markets which, in turn will have a flow-on benefit to regional communities,’ he said.

‘The Cairns export hub will mean even more of our world-class seafood and agricultural produce including fish and crustaceans, frozen prawns, avocadoes, melons, citrus, blueberries, mangoes and other tropics fruits will head overseas, boosting our economy and creating jobs.’

Construction on both facilities is scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2020, with openings planned for 2021.

Agricultural exports are identified as one of Queensland’s export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

If you have an agricultural product you think could succeed in an overseas market, contact one of TIQ’s regional advisors.