CRCNA delegation visits Singapore

CRCNA delegation visits Singapore
L-R Joep Staarman (Barramundi Asia), Tracey Hayes (CRCNA), John Bearne (CRCNA), John Wharton (CRCNA), Sheriden Morris (CRCNA Ch

The Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia’s inaugural mission to Singapore has been hailed a major success, with delegates having identified key areas for future collaboration.

The delegation, which consisted of six CRCNA Board members including Chair Sheriden Morris, Chief Executive Officer Jed Matz and Head of the Office of Northern Australia Mark Coffey, travelled to Singapore from Monday 3 September to Friday 7 September.

The official delegation program included meetings with Singapore’s Economic Development Board, the Australian Chamber of Commerce ASEAN, Enterprise Singapore, Austrade, the Queensland Trade and Industry Commissioner, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), food wholesalers and importers, the owner of Australia’s largest barramundi farm, representatives from Jurong Port and Qube International.

The four-day visit culminated in CRCNA Chair Sheriden Morris presenting at a gathering of Singapore’s top scientists, researchers and business people at the Australian High Commissioner’s residence.

During her address, Ms Morris flagged the CRCNA’s desire to collaborate with Singaporean businesses and researchers to find innovative solutions to trade and investment barriers and impediments across Northern Australia.

Ms Morris said the CRCNA’s aim during their visit was to listen and hear first-hand some of the challenges businesses face when they come to invest in the North and to use these discussions to inform and progress work on how best to de-risk investment in the region.

“A consistent message we received was that Singapore wants more from Australia but the biggest barrier to further trade and investment was a lack of infrastructure – specifically a cost-effective supply chain and transport network to get more produce up into Asia in a timely fashion,” said Ms Morris.

“The CRCNA and the Office of Northern Australia can play a critical role in helping identify solutions to resolve these barriers, by supporting research collaborations between Singaporean businesses and researchers and businesses, researchers and governments across Northern Australia.”

Organisations like A*STAR, Enterprise Singapore, the Singapore Economic Development Board and a number private business showed genuine interest in partnering with Northern Australian businesses and the CRCNA, to help identify and progress mutually beneficial projects across the ASEAN region.

“We think there is a significant opportunity to explore ways to re-frame how we think about freight and supply chains across the North and we look forward to continuing to progress these discussions,” said Ms Morris.

Mark Coffey from the Office of Northern Australia said the visit provided plenty of food for thought.

“It was clear to the delegation that there is significant opportunity for Northern Australian businesses and investors to draw on the expertise Singapore has as a cold chain logistics provider with the view to explore potential transhipment opportunities from the north through Singapore and into broader ASEAN region,” he said.

“This certainly is something we need to examine more closely, and the CRCNA framework of bringing together industry, researchers and government provides the perfect platform to progress these discussions, which is supported by the ONA.”

The CRCNA was assisted during this visited by Austrade and the Queensland Trade and Investment Commission, who helped connect the delegation with representatives from various organisations and agencies.

“Our neighbours are wanting us to resolve issues around transport, scale of supply, product stabilisation and logistics – and it is clear there are opportunities to share knowledge and expertise in these areas which may provide the solutions the North needs,” said Ms Morris.

“We saw first-hand the scale and capability of port and cold storage logistics providers currently working in Singapore when we visited the large multipurpose Jurong Port facilities and met with Qube International and Gallant Venture.

These parties expressed an interest in continuing to work with the CRCNA to identify future areas for collaboration and were particularly interested in learning more about our region’s supply chain challenges.”

Ms Morris said the delegation left Singapore with a commitment to continue a dialogue with key stakeholders and with a clear intention to progress some of the ideas and opportunities raised.

Key points of interest:

  • There is a genuine desire to access more of Australian’s clean, green produce – but there is currently no viable supply chain to allow scale of supply.
  • Singaporean businesses are looking for long-term partnerships which deliver mutual benefit, particularly in food and nutrition but also in health service delivery.
  • There is significant opportunity for Northern Australian businesses and governments to draw on the expertise Singapore has as a cold chain logistics provider with the view to explore potential transhipment opportunities from the north through Singapore and into broader ASEAN region.
  • Opportunities exists for Singaporean and Australian business and researchers to collaborate around developing food stabilisation technologies for food in transit.

Key outcomes:

  • CRCNA will continue to progress work to harmonise and re-frame Northern Australia’s supply chain and look to attract innovative solutions and Singaporean businesses could play a role in helping find these solutions alongside Australian industry.
  • CRCNA identified opportunities for further discussion with various agencies within Singapore particularly around health service delivery and disease detection.
  • There are opportunities for the CRCNA to broker knowledge gaps with businesses already invested in Northern Australia.

Media enquiries:

Carla Keith, CRCNA Communications Manager 0499 330 051