VIRUS RESISTANT: Michael, Terry and Tony Nolan Owners of Nolan Meats in Gympie.
VIRUS RESISTANT: Michael, Terry and Tony Nolan Owners of Nolan Meats in Gympie.

Gympie firm defies trade slump

MAJOR Gympie export employer Nolan Meats has defied the coronavirus market slump and kept its now-expanded workforce employed, director Tony Nolan said yesterday.

And he welcomed federal government initiatives which he said would restore some of the airfreight services which were vital to many horticulture and seafood exporters.

“Our exports are down slightly, but nothing serious,” he said.

“We don’t use a lot of airfreight, we mostly export by sea, but everyone’s business model is different.

“If I was in live seafood or horticulture where they fly out product every night, I’d be concerned.

“I imagine airfreight has stopped, but sea freight is fine.”

Mr Nolan said the federal government had just announced a $130 million program to increase airfreight, because often passenger flights have cargo holds which include export product, but with the reduction in passenger travel, there are no holds to fill.

“So the government is subsidising air cargo for those industries.

“We do very little airfreight though,” he said. “We have suspended some export operations to facilitate more domestic trade.

“Three weeks ago, there was a big run on meat. Supermarkets and butchers all reported record sales because of panic buying.

“So in the short term we diverted some product from export to domestic to satisfy consumers here.

“But it only lasted two weeks,” he said.

He said the firm had recently increased its staff to help with extra demand. We have had about 20 people in self-isolation as a precaution and we interviewed 50 people for the new jobs.