Around the edges of RMSC 2019, delegates were getting together to discuss the matters of the day for the New Zealand meat industry.
Long-standing supporter Maersk sponsored the Gala Dinner once again this year, which was held in Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral. While the two industries are quite different, they do share several similarities, explained Maersk Oceania’s head of reefer sales Tony Mildon.
“One of these is the need to continually innovate and stay ahead of the game to meet rapidly changing market demands. The red meat sector is a significant contributor to the success and growth of New Zealand’s export trade and its long-standing partnership with the sector is crucial to Maersk.”
Not only does the annual event allow Maersk greater insight into the industry’s challenges, but it also gives the shipper an understanding of the opportunities and innovation coming through the industry, he said.
“Our role as end-to-end supply chain partner is to help enable meat exporters’ trade and support continuous growth and we always welcome the chance to have focused and beneficial discussions with our customers in the red meat sector,” said Mildon. “It allows us to match what we are doing in the trade and, combined with our latest shipping technology innovations, meet the needs of the sector.”
Mildon also said New Zealand’s meat exporters can expect to see more changes around shipping in the next few years. Shipping’s sulphur emissions are set to be reduced by 80 percent from next year as new international regulations come into force and this will increase shipping costs.
Maersk is also committed to and focused on zero-carbon shipping, says Mildon. Finally, together with IBM, Maersk is developing Tradelens, an end-to-end global digital trading network based on blockchain technology.
Don’t let Brexit fatigue set in
Exporters are being warned to avoid ‘Brexit fatigue’ setting in and to continue planning for potential ‘no deal’ disruption in the UK and EU markets to avoid commercial risk.
Against the uncertain background, meat exporters need to act now to protect their businesses, if they have not already done so, says Russell McVeagh special counsel and head of international trade, Sarah Salmond. She has been acting for a number of New Zealand companies on Brexit-related matters.
In Salmond’s opinion, some commentators have underestimated the risks posed by Brexit, as they have only been thinking about regulatory continuity, through veterinary and standards agreements. Exporters are not being given the tools they need to prepare for the commercial risks they are facing, she believes.
The biggest risk is the mounting up of significant bills for meeting the commercial and regulatory requirements, which meat exporters might have to shoulder, she says. Another is deteriorating quality of market access for New Zealand product, a potential surplus of lamb on the British market, exchange rate risks and losses from spoiled consignments held up at the borders.
There is also the risk of ‘Brexit fatigue’ setting in for companies: “This is not like Y2K, no governments are going to step in and save you this time.”
She urges exporters to continue their planning: “Yes, there are risks, but people need to persevere and be vigilant. There are also things you can do to mitigate the situation, including monitoring the introduction of new market access conditions, mapping supply chains, checking whether you need additional agents and reviewing contracts carefully.”
Traceability mission for OSPRI
“The world needs to be assured that the meat and milk from New Zealand’s grass-fed animals on these fresh-air islands is safe, nutritious and free from disease,” said conference lunch sponsor OSPRI chief executive Stephen Stuart.
“With booming populations and global political uncertainty, quality assurance is increasingly important,” he notes, adding a joined-up approach to biosecurity and traceability is crucial to defend New Zealand’s borders from animal diseases like Mycoplasma bovis and foot-and-mouth-disease.
Traceability data needed for the M. bovis response has helped improve the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) system by encouraging all farmers to get registered and establishing an eradication strategy for the disease.
Eradication has been part of OSPRI’s skill set since it was first set up. The world-leading bovine tuberculosis (TB) eradication programme it runs has brought infected herd numbers down from 1,700 at the outbreak’s mid-1990s peak to under 25 today.
TB is anticipated to be cleared from those herds by 2026 and from the possums that spread the disease between wildlife and livestock by 2040. By 2055, it is expected that New Zealand will be recognised as the only country in the world to have eradicated bovine TB.
“When that happens, it will rank, in agricultural circles, as a world cup performance, says Stuart.
“OSPRI has got your back,” Stuart’s telling farmers. “Supporting the success of farmers is our motivation and world-class disease management and traceability is our mission.”
New Linerless Wraps from Hally Labels
Coffee cart sponsor Hally Labels was excited to showcase Linerless Wraps to meat companies attending the conference. Its newest premium labelling option is part of the linerless solution developed by UK-based Ravenwood Packaging. Hally is proud to be a fully accredited supplier of wraps for their ‘Nobac’ applicators. Vacuum-skin packaging is a highly-desirable, extended-life form of food packaging and the Ravenwood solution is the perfect answer to efficient, sustainable, 360-degree labelling of these difficult-to-label end products, says group general manager, Anne-Marie Sutton.
She predicted New Zealand and Australian ready-retail meat packaging is poised to follow the trends seen in Europe.
“We have received strong interest for Linerless Wraps from the protein and ready-meal markets and believe we are on the verge of a packaging revolution in this part of the world,” she said.
This article appeared in Food NZ magazine (August/September 2019) and is reproduced here with permission.
Meating up at #RMSC2019