North Queensland farmers have welcomed a new shipping line's announcement that it will upgrade the frequency of its services from the Port of Townsville.
Global transport giant ANL will run direct services to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia from the port, offering transit times of as little as 10 days.
A ship will leave from Townsville every 16 days as part of the service.
Mango farmer Peter Manolis from Kelso on Townsville's outskirts said the savings could be enormous if he can bypass the Port of Brisbane.
The majority of his mangoes are exported, with Hong Kong and Singapore receiving much of his fruit.
"It costs us about $2 a tray to send it to Brisbane. That's quite a lot when you look at 140 trays on a pallet, 20 pallets on a semi-trailer," he said.
"The savings could be astronomical for us considering we may send 50-60,000 trays overseas.
"When you start working out $2 by 60,000 — that's $120,000 saved in shipping fruit to Brisbane. That's the cream that you're trying to make."
Mr Manolis said he hoped more competition between freighters would help drive down costs further for exporters.
Shipping increase a boost locally
Port of Townsville Trade Development executive Maria James said the move showed confidence in the North Queensland export market and room for greater tonnages out of the port.
She said the locations ANL will ship to made excellent regional hubs for transhipment and saves up to four days in transit for regional exporters.
"Once you get something to Singapore for example, the proximity to all those south-east Asian nations is immense. So it's not only that quick transit time but also the reach they'll have," she said.
"If people were producing something in say Bowen-Gumlu and sending it out through Brisbane they would lose a couple of days to get it there, then it would sail past us for a couple of days.
"So with this hugely reduced transit time we can get almost any produce to the centre of Asia."
Port authorities believe the additional service to Singapore will interest many producers as the tiny island nation's non-protocol, high-value market for horticulture makes it attractive for exporters.
Ms James said the increasing number of container line services have increased choice for exporters and brought the costs down for producers.
"We've got at least four or five now. The prices between Brisbane and Townsville have never been as close as they are now and I really feel it's because there are three big lines competing against each other," she said.
Peter Manolis' mango trees are experiencing a heavy flower set this season which could lead to a bumper crop — something that's been foreshadowed across the mango industry.
With a potentially massive output this season, making exports more competitive will be a focus for his operation.
"It does bring down the price and it becomes a buyers' market, so you have to ask for less to stay competitive," he said.
Mr Manolis added that while Malaysia and Indonesia were lower value markets than Hong Kong or Singapore, the potential savings form avoiding transhipping costs out of Brisbane could make it a better option.
"The price of fruit that you send into Malaysia is always a good percentage down ... what you save now from not sending to Brisbane makes up on that shortfall," he said.