Australian avocado marketer The Avolution has grown its seafreight exports to Asia by more than 30 per cent (by volume) over the last 12 months.
Antony Allen, chief executive of The Avolution, said advances in plant breeding and on-farm management are creating a more robust product that can withstand the journey over water.
The company is also reaping the benefits of continuous in-transit temperature monitoring of its fruit, using a supply chain monitoring service developed by Sydney-based Escavox.
Allen said the technology ensures a much higher percentage of shipments are arriving in optimum condition, meaning superior quality for the end-consumer and less waste due to lost or degraded product.
“There’s no doubt that we have a more robust product to begin with, but new technology that provides accurate data in real time is giving us the confidence to send more of our product by sea over a wider geographical area globally, than we ever once thought possible,” Allen said.
Escavox trackers are deployed with each shipment, capturing and downloading data continuously, providing a clear picture to The Avolution team on what its fruit is experiencing on the supply chain journey.
Each tracker captures information relating to time, temperature, location, light and humidity. The information is then relayed in real-time to a user-friendly dashboard on a PC or smart device, enabling The Avolution to make quick adjustments while the product is in-transit, or use the historical data profile compiled over time to make longer-term strategic changes to its supply chain arrangements.
Since starting the relationship with Escavox 18 months ago, The Avolution is reaping the benefits of multiple data sets at its disposal, giving the business the confidence to expand its export footprint.
“We’re doing this largely by seafreight, which is infinitely more complex logistically, but half the price of airfreight,” Allen said.
“So, the investment in Escavox technology has produced two significant dividends for our business – it has helped increase our exports and reduced our freight bill.”
In the last three weeks of June, The Avolution was sending one shipping container, or 3,250 trays, of Hass avocados from farms around Bundaberg and south-east Queensland to Singapore and Malaysia each week, a journey of 14 days. Product is also sent via airfreight to the two countries, plus Hong Kong and Indonesia.
From July, The Avolution will source avocados from farms in Victoria and South Australia before progressing to Western Australia.
Allen said the company is considering more export markets in the Middle East and Europe using seafreight.
“Markets that we once considered out of reach by boat are now well and truly in play,” he said.
“It’s important, especially now, that we have a high level of trust with those in our cool chain. We can’t just hop on a plane to another country to troubleshoot a problem.
“The eyes that Escavox gives you on your product have never been more critical.”