A NEW milk processing plant purpose built for the export market is expected to be built in or near Camperdown, after a deal was clinched with a Chinese backer this week to pursue the development.
Australian Dairy Farms Group (ADFG) yesterday announced that the Camperdown Dairy Company (CDC) has entered into a ‘Heads of Agreement’ with its primary Chinese customer, Australian Lian He Pty Ltd (Australian Lian) to build the facility.
ADFG chief executive officer Peter Skene said Australian Lian will fund 100 per cent of the new factory, which will be located on land owned or controlled by ADFG, and that CDC will operate it in conjunction with its existing Camperdown-based factory.
Mr Skene said the aim was to produce high quality fresh milk especially to satisfy the stringent quality requirements for the supply of fresh milk to the export market.
Based in Melbourne, Australian Lian is CDC’s longest and most reliable customer in the export of fresh Australian milk to China.
The company is an Australian registered entity established in 2009 by a Chinese resident of Australia, which has been exporting and distributing a range of Australian food and predominantly dairy products to the China market for several years.
Australian Lian distributes and sells products through an extensive network of more than 3000 high profile store outlets throughout China and already includes several brands of infant and follow-on formula.
Mr Skene said the joint investment will see 40 per cent held by ADFG and 60 per cent by Australian Lian.
The factory will be designed and constructed according to CDC’s specifications and under its supervision, with CDC able to utilise any excess capacity.
Mr Skene said the aim was to produce “very high quality” milk to maximise its shelf life.
“The product has the benefit of positioning the company as one of a very small number of milk processors in Australia to have the capability to produce and export the very high quality fresh milk required for export markets,” he said.
“Modern technology will be used to process and bottle fresh milk that will be relevant to export markets generally and be world class by global standards.
“It is essential for Australian exporters of fresh produce to have confidence that the supply chain from the paddock to the end consumer overseas is managed with integrity and professionalism.”
Mr Skene said CDC has already seen first-hand how seriously Australian Lian takes its obligation with its Melbourne based general manager driving three hours to Camperdown every Monday to supervise the processing and packaging of the export shipments and then following the delivery truck to Tullamarine Airport to ensure there are no delays loading the shipment onto the aircraft.
Australian Lian also has employees in China that meet and monitor the shipment to ensure there are no delays in getting the milk to the final retail outlets on time.
“It’s a big commitment to quality and safety and we are very comfortable moving into this space with Australian Lian,” Mr Skene said.
“By industry standards, the size and capacity of the proposed new plant is quite small, it does however provide substantial capacity for the fresh milk export market both now and into the future.
“From a strategic point of view, it fits perfectly with ADFG’s valuable capability to be flexible and nimble in its processing business operations focussed on the higher value added end of the Australian milk products.”
Mr Skene said ADFG’s directors believe the joint enterprise to be a “very positive step forward”, which will facilitate increased exports and open the way to additional export markets ensuring greater product and business security.