Dairy co-operative Norco expects to ship fresh milk to China within a few weeks after a succesful export trial

Dairy co-operative Norco expects to ship fresh milk to China within a few weeks after a succesful export trial

Australian dairy co-operative Norco is preparing to ship its full range of fresh milk products to China "within the next few weeks" after completing a six-month export trial.

Together with PGS, an international export consulting firm, and dairy industry representative body Dairy Connect, Norco has established an export pipeline that reduces the lead time for exports to eight days, CEO Brett Kelly explained to just-food. The normal lead time is 14 to 21 days, the co-op said.

Kelly said the biggest challenge had been quality assurance testing. Clearing the tests can sometimes delay when products were available for sale.

Norco said the "breakthrough" has come after 12 months of collaboration between PGS and Chinese officials to develop "rigorous quality assurance protocols that have now been fully tested and officially sanctioned by the relevant Chinese agencies".

Greg McNamara, Norco's chairman, explained the pipeline "has the capacity to deliver more than 20m litres of fresh milk to consumers in China within the first 12 months".

Kelly said there would be an extension on the type of products exported to China but did not specify what these would be.

"China is a market that has huge opportunity for Norco in terms of potential volume requirement," he added.

Dairy Connect chairman George Davey said the "commercially viable cold chain pipeline will open the door for millions of litres of fresh milk exports to China each year".