Southern Processing was the first company to export fresh milk overseas in refrigerated containers to China - a process it pioneered and has been servicing for more than five years.
The milk has a 26-day shelf life and arrives at its overseas destination within 17 to 22 days.
Originally the milk was sent in small 1000 litre pallecons but the company pioneered the use of 18000 litre bladders in refrigerated containers for liquid milk -a feat no-one globally had ever achieved before.
This initiative has been instrumental in securing and expanding the business into the region.
“Our export is driven by shipping and to be able to improve the ability to maintain our quality and deliver in bulk has been fantastic, and to be the first company to do that globally is even better,” chief executive officer Neil Longstaff said.
Valuing relationships is at the core of Southern Processing and is perhaps one of the reasons why the company is so successful.
Instead of expanding into new markets it has instead nurtured and expanded connections it already had.
This goes right through the whole business, from farmer suppliers through to factory operations, logistics and export customers.
Over the years the company has expanded its factory to accommodate its increasing business and is again nearing its limits as production hits around 12000 litres/hour.
“I can remember those early days losing sleep over how we were going to process 10000 litres a day,” Wayne Mulcahy said.
The company manufactures both A1 and A2 milk and also packages biodynamic milk.
This season about 41 million litres of milk will be processed through the plant.
Retail products include:
*One and 2 litre bottles packed in cardboard cartons, bulk milk domestic tanker loads and 1000-litre pallecons.
*Bulk milk for export in 18000-litre flexi-tanks in 6m reefer containers supplied to Melbourne Port for shipment to customer nominated final destinations.
*Cream in 2 and 5-litre bottles or 1000-litre pallecons.
Southern Processing is looking to expand its business in the future on all levels.
“We would like to double the business and focus on more chilled milk products. We would like to grow our existing customer base in Asia,” Mr Longstaff said.
“Our site is getting tight and we are looking at expanding that and expansion at the farm level too.
“We are very proud of our business and the horizon looks pretty bright when we look at the opportunities we have.”