The COVID-19 pandemic may be keeping people away from restaurants in most parts of the world, but if the amount of Atlantic lobster transported by Air Canada Cargo is any indication as the fishing season kicks off, appetite for the Canadian delicacy remains strong.
In the first week of May, more than 60 tons (54,400 kilograms) of live lobster were transported to Asia thanks to all cargo flights to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing, that Air Canada has maintained with its Boeing 777s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The journey for those lobsters begins in Halifax, where twice a week, more than 30,000 kilograms of the crustaceans are loaded into the belly of a widebody Airbus A330 aircraft destined for Toronto. This route is normally operated by smaller aircraft, but during the high-demand seasons, larger aircraft are scheduled to assist getting the lobster to market quickly.
From there, some of it is distributed to Canadian merchants, while the rest are quickly dispatched on flights to Asia and Europe. Since lobsters remain viable out of water for only 72 hours, these key direct connection to markets are critical parts of the supply chain.
“The distribution of seafood and especially lobster is a big part of the economy in Atlantic Canada and despite some uncertainty around the global demand for it, we continue to see a steady flow from the docks to our aircraft, knowing that our capacity and reliability are crucial to the fishermen who make a living out on the water,” said Ken McDonald, Strategic Account Manager at Air Canada Cargo.
“Air Canada Cargo plays a critical role in our sector’s ability to serve markets in Canada and especially around the world. Our sector is struggling but we are seeing pockets of recovery and having a reliable air freight partner is key to getting our products to customers, wherever they might be and from whichever market segment,” said Paul Lansbergen, President, Fisheries Council of Canada.
While the majority of lobsters transported via Air Canada Cargo is destined to Asia, there are also steady lobster shipments headed for Europe, with Brussels acting as a distribution point for the continent. With Spain and Italy also seeing an uptick in demand, direct deliveries to those countries could be a future possibility. Up to 97 per cent of the items that are shipped via Air Canada Cargo from Atlantic Canada is seafood, with 90 per cent of that being lobster.
Bon appétit! 😊