Queensland businesses adapting to global demand with exports close to pre-COVID levels

Monday 22 November, 2021 | By: Emma Clarke

Queensland businesses are adapting to the post-COVID global environment, diversifying into traditional and new international markets with export volumes rising and close to pre-COVID levels.  

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) in September issued 22% more Certificates of Origin compared to the same time last year.  

It means 22% more export shipments left domestic shores destined for overseas markets.  

Queensland products are headed for traditional markets such as China, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, UAE, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand and USA while some Queensland businesses added alternative destinations to their existing export markets portfolio with export shipments headed to Nigeria, Vanuatu, Bahamas and Ireland.  

CCIQ International Trade and Strategic Relationships Manager Diana Gueorguieva said in September export shipments to Japan, South Korea and UAE significantly increased by 126%, 53% and 51% respectively in comparison with September 2020. 

Other markets remain steady or show some decline which is expected considering the nature of international business, Ms Gueorguieva said.  

There was also a 9% increase in export markets for the month – from 75 to 82 comparing with the previous year. 

She said 44 product categories were exported in September, with the top 10, including agriculture and manufacturing, representing 84% of total exports. More than 70% of exports were agribusiness products, especially beef and grains, with minerals and metal making up the majority of manufacturing exports alongside raw food materials.  

“We use Certificates of Origin data as an indicator on what is happening in the industry at a certain point of time,” Ms Gueorguieva said.  

“A rise in preferential and non-preferential Certificates of Origin reflects a similar rise in export shipments which is predominantly due to exporters successfully diversifying into new markets, diversifying some products to meet changing demand and the improvement of global conditions.  

“Exporters were significantly impacted during COVID which meant they were forced to adapt their businesses and product offerings to meet changing demand and developing market conditions. The export market in China, for multiple industries, was a particular challenge over the past 18 months as was access to freight and export logistics into multiple markets.   

“For example, an exporter member which would previously have exported their beauty products to the Middle East have diversified their product range to produce sanitisers and a self-care range to meet the needs of the domestic Australian market during lockdowns. 

“It meant the businesses was able to export to three new countries. 

“Other members were able to add additional products to their existing product range, for one or more export markets of their portfolio of markets.  

“These results show many were successful in that diversification of markets, products or both with exports now returning to almost pre-COVID levels and rising.” 

Ms Gueorguieva said exporters were still challenged in their capacity to send their products overseas as global markets and supply chains adapted to COVID business as usual conditions.  

“Regretfully, according to our member exporters and freight companies, there are still challenges especially skyrocketing international freight rates. Our members are telling us these are in some instances four to five times what they were a few months ago, Ms Gueorguieva said. 

“There is also a lack of shipping containers, cargo capacity issues, vessel delays and price increases at overseas ports which mean while exports have strengthened, businesses are having to work harder and smarter to meet international demand.” 

Ms Gueorguieva said the extension of the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), was positive and meant an additional $260.9 million would be used to continue operations until June 2022, with an operational tail to the end of July 2022. 

“This additional funding will help airfreight exporters to conduct their export business in these challenging post-COVID global conditions and comes after CCIQ advocated to government for additional funding to be provided to exporters to support sea freight,” Ms Gueorguieva said.  

“CCIQ will continue our support to help businesses succeed internationally in these challenging times with export and Free Trade Agreements between Australia and other countries, education and advice, Certificates of Origin, ATA Carnets, business connections and other assistance as required.” 

For more information or to become a CCIQ International member see the CCIQ website. : 

CCIQ media contact 

Emma Clarke  

Media and Communications Advisor  

eclarke@cciq.com.au | 0403 944 902