Kilcoy’s airfreight beef charter to China keeps product moving during difficult times

Beef Central, 02/03/2020


IN WHAT is probably a first for an Australian red meat exporter, Queensland grainfed beef supply chain Kilcoy Global Foods has chartered its own 747 cargo aircraft to air-freight about 100 tonnes of high quality chilled product to customers in China.

The move comes in response to China’s port and vessel shipping restrictions caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.

The chartered Atlas Air Cargo flight left Sydney International Airport on Saturday bound for Shanghai, transporting about A$2 million worth of high quality chilled beef to support Chinese retail customers left short after weeks of logistics problems with sea-freight imports.

In a statement, KGF said it believed it was the only meat company in Australia that is continuing its beef supply into China, “demonstrating our commitment to providing solutions to meet customer demand for high-quality beef products.”

KGF chief executive Dean Goode said China was an important buyer of premium Australian beef and Kilcoy was passionate about providing every opportunity to supply its high-quality product to the Chinese market, 365 days of the year.

The consignment included a variety of chilled grainfed cuts from KGF’s award-winning brands including Ebony Black Angus, Kilcoy Pure and Carrara 640 Wagyu.

KGF chief sales and marketing officer Fearn Cholerton said logistics conditions were gradually easing in China, but in the meantime, the one-off airfreight shipment was seen as a solution to keep supply up to major retail customers.

“Assured supply, even in times of uncertainty, is a hallmark of the Kilcoy business. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance that we continue to identify appropriate solutions for our customers,” he said.

“Our commitment to the Chinese market is demonstrated via our creation of an integrated sales, importation and distribution model with assets owned and businesses established by KGF. This is unique for Australian beef companies, and enables us to not only identify customer needs, but allows us to respond with promptitude,” Mr Cholerton said.

“It is quite remarkable to reflect on how our company has developed over recent years. Our growth speaks for itself, however our ability to meet demand like that of the Chinese market and overcome challenges such as the ones we currently face in market is a testament to our belief in driving growth, yet remaining agile — we owe it to our customers, employees and business partners to think globally, yet find local solutions.”

KGF supply chain services manager Brad Starr, second from right, with Sydney Airport employees during loading

KGF described itself as a ‘nature-to-plate’ food solutions enterprise with a footprint spanning Australia, the United States and China, and the ability to export to more than 30 countries worldwide.

The business’s global sourcing capability provides access to high quality raw materials, from Australia’s best beef, to Alaska’s best salmon.

“KGF ensures its food solutions are based on insights and instinct for where the market is heading, and what customers need to succeed,” the company statement said.

  • While airfreight export consignments of Australian beef have been common over the past decade, consignments are normally shared among a number of exporters using the same scheduled freight service.






Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


  1. Paul Franks, 03/03/2020

    Reading about the desire by the red meat advisory council to make the beef industry carbon neutral within ten years, given air-freight is the most carbon emission intensive way to move freight. How does air freighting Australian beef fit in with the RMAC plans?

  2. Dick Morgan, 03/03/2020

    To charter an aircraft and send 100 tonnes of Australian beef to an export market is a great achievement! I have no idea what the cost of this exercise would be but I assume it would be very much more than conventional ‘liner terms’ sea freight is. Chartered sea freight can sometimes be economical and competitive but it requires very large volumes to charter a refrigerated vessel. With some beef cuts becoming a ‘luxury’ product maybe we will see more of this chilled air freight in the future.

    Thanks for your comment, Dick. We’ve written previously about the growth in air freight for red meat exports seen over recent years. Click this link to view our earlier article. Editor

  3. Val Dyer, 02/03/2020

    Well done, Kilcoy.

  4. Eric Newsome, 02/03/2020

    Why wasn,t this meat sent from Toowoomba airport ?

Get Beef Central's news headlines emailed to you -