Impact Publications : Aircargo_237
Page 4 • AirCArgo AsiA-PACifiC • JUNE-JULY 2015 Quality and freshness preserved Because maintaining the quality of your produce matters, Qantas Freight’s Q-GO Fresh ensures your fresh seafood, meat, plants and flowers arrive at their destination, with freshness and quality preserved. Qantas Freight is Australia’s leading air cargo carrier, and with a reach of over 80 domestic Australia destinations and 480 destinations worldwide, you can move your fresh produce to more customers almost anywhere in the world. Fresh and on time. For enquiries about moving fresh produce or any of the products in the Q-GO range please visit qantasfreight.com QAN_Q-Go_Fresh_A4_FA.indd 1 2/12/14 3:06 PM NZ’s ‘great flying sheep scandal’ occupies parliament – 12 years after the first sheep shipped and with millions of dollars spent POLITICAL scandals are commonplace in most countries. Very few, however, centre on air cargo. New Zealand currently is in the grip of an international brouhaha which has all the ingredients of a best seller. It ‘starred’ a rich Middle Eastern en- trepreneur and featured a stalled free trade agreement, politicians warring at high level, allegations of possible cor- ruption or at least financial high-hand- edness, leaked documents, a slightly mysterious desert property... .and 900+ pregnant ewes that flew from NZ to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in some style (as befitted their personal condition and government links). Accompanied by vets, the sheep travelled by Singapore Airlines Cargo from Auckland to Dammam late last year. The bill of around NZ$1.5 million was picked up by the NZ government... and the government spent many more mil- lions helping Hamood Al Ali Al Khalaf set up a ‘model farm’, claiming it was to showcase NZ farming methods and encourage further agri-business between the two countries. Trouble was, it might not all have been true. An alternative version came out of the desert sands during a recent visit to KSA by NZ’s prime minister John Key. The NZ government is keen to progress a stalled free trade agree- ment, itself likely to boost transport links, both air cargo and sea freight. The story starts in 2007, when the then Labour administration banned live sheep exports (by sea) to the Middle East because of a public outcry over transport conditions. This was to the detriment of the Al Khalaf group, which had invested heavily in the trade and had substantial agri-investments in NZ. It still does. Allegations that the group threat- ened legal action then or later to cover losses are currently in dispute. But the Al Khalaf people were miffed in 2008/2009 when the incoming National Party administration abruptly changed its mind on resuming live exports. This appears to have led to the KSA government responding coolly to NZ’s FTA aspirations. What happened next – around 2013 - is currently being debated almost daily in NZ’s parliament, through diplomatic channels, in media and particularly in the Wellington ‘beltway’, where belea- guered opposition parties scent the possibility of smearing Key’s 10-year regime, which has brushed off almost every other ‘scandal’. There is no dispute that NZ contrib- uted substantial funding for the sheep and the farm near Dammam. Whether it was for the good of agri-exports, to assuage an aggrieved party, to open the doors to a potentially mega-prof- itable FTA, because of diplomatic pressures or all of the above is likely to come out in one of the enquiries being mooted at our deadline. Singapore seizes high-value counterfeit items A LARGE number of trademark-infringing goods have been seized by Singa- pore Customs over the past two months, most coming from China. One big haul in April at an importer’s warehouse resulted in the seizure of thousands of branded items including upmarket mobile phone accessories, watches, sunglasses, bags and wallets. Most national border protection services operate watch systems for coun- terfeit merchandise in cargo consignments. However, this can pose some difficulties in jurisdictions such as NZ which, while opposed to counterfeit imports, does have a relaxed ‘parallel market’ ap- proach that allows some legitimate items from other than accredited national distributors to enter the country. This is under pressure to change if the much-argued Trans-Pacific Partner- ship free trade agreement comes into force.