AGRI-logistics is emerging as the next big growth sector in the Australian real estate market.
One of the most recent developments to make headlines and said to be a 'game changer', is CQ Inland Port project at Yamala, central Queensland.
It is now well underway with the project expected to be up and running by the end of 2019.
Partially-funded by the local, State and Federal governments, it is a purpose-built and shovel-ready intermodal facility at Yamala, 25 kilometres east of Emerald.
GrainCorp was the first and currently the only company to snap up a 47 hectare site in the development, with plans to construct an $18.5 million grain handling facility to maximise the efficiency of grain exports from the Emerald region.
With stage one underway, which includes 10 remaining lots for sale, the project will comprise 56 lots for major industrial activities.
The CQ Inland Port will enable the movement of significant volumes of commodities through a road to rail intermodal and bulk commodity facilities connecting to major ports of Brisbane, Gladstone, Mackay and Townsville.
It is set to drive greater utilisation of rail investment for enhanced and more efficient freight transport outcomes, as well as provide the infrastructure required for the movement or bulk and containerised freight from the site.
The project will also provide a platform for increased inter-modal container traffic and for the packing, storage and value adding activities across the resources and agricultural sectors.
CQ Inland Port managing director Alan Stent-Smith said after years of planning, advocacy and negotiation, it was extremely rewarding that the major civil construction works were now well underway.
"The bipartisanship and support for the project across all levels of government has allowed this project to become a reality," Mr Stent-Smith said.
Colliers International head of Agribusiness Rawdon Briggs, who is the lead marketing agent on the project, said the CQ Inland Port project benefited from being at the epicentre of a diverse agricultural region.
"This project can't come soon enough for growers to reduce freight and logistics costs and improve bottom lines after some difficult seasons in the past few years," Mr Briggs said.
"Since construction commenced we have witnessed a surge in interest in the project across a range of sectors with the project specifically designed and supportive of agricultural services, freight and logistics, meat processing, mining services, general industrial, warehousing and manufacturing uses."
Mr Briggs said the recent government announcement about the approval of the Adani Carmichael mine will provide significant growth and investment in the Central Queensland region and projects like the CQ Inland Port will support and drive demand and growth of the mining services sectors."
CBRE director of Agri-Logistics, Stephen Caffery, also said the sector of agri-logistics was attracting greater institutional investment, underpinned by the strength of Australia's industrial, logistics and agricultural markets.
"On the back of a buoyant industrial and logistics sector and recent free trade agreements, Asia's investment appetite and capacity for Australia's agriculture industry to produce high value food and fibre products, there has been a sharp upturn in investment in the sector," Mr Caffery said.
"Agri-logistics has all the ingredients to become the standout investment class in Australia over the next decade.
"The sector is the backbone that supports Australia's $60 billion farm gate production industry each year.
"All of Australia's agricultural products, at some point, will need to be processed, value-added, stored and transported for either domestic consumption or export markets.
"Investing in these supply chains represents an enormous opportunity for investors looking for long term secure cashflows in assets that are defensive in economic downturns."