AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Lack of trucks bends banana logistics out of shape

<p>The impact of Cyclone Larry is still being felt, with a perfect storm of banana, mango and in February, avocado harvests putting the produce transport system under heavy strain.</p> <p>After suffering a lack of labour and adverse weather late last year, far north Queensland is seeing a bumper banana crop but a shortage of trucks to transport it.</p> <p>Australian Banana Growers Council figures show a huge replanting exercise after the cyclone, bearing fruit with an increase in the first week of January from 226,413 cartons to 435,590 cartons.</p> <p>This has resulted in a depot owner offering $1,000 for trucks to drive empty from the south to ease the pain, according to the <em>North Queensland Register.</em> </p> <p>In Mareeba, CLC Produce managing director Peter Mills said his depot was averaging 13 trucks a day but needed 19 or 20.</p> <p>This was because of the mango crop now underway.</p> <p>"We have sent some produce by rail but it is a lot of mucking around getting the refrigerated rail containers to Mareeba," he was reported as saying.</p> <br />