The Global Language of Business

Streamlining the beef export business from Australia to the U.S.

Australia is the world’s largest beef exporter, valued at A$9.3 billion in 2015. The United States is the main export destination with 32 percent of all exports. As a major meat exporter, Australia’s volume of shipments is so significant that even small cost- and time-savings can add up to considerable gains.

The pilot originated in Australia and covered its boxed beef destined for the U.S. market. The intent of the pilot was to use a standardised system to share product data and GS1 standards to uniquely identify products in order to drive significant efficiency gains in trade between the two trading partners.


The automation of messages of transport instructions reduced manual entry errors and delivered potential savings of A$57,000 and more than 1,000 hours of manual labour annually.

By using GS1 standards in the supply chain, Australian meat exporters saved an estimated A$14 million each year.

Supply chain visibility improved from 43% to 93%.


Australia’s boxed meat exports to the U.S. loses millions of Australian dollars each year due to missing shipment marks, indicating the meat in the box has the proper health certificate to enter the U.S. market. The mark is a “stamp” that indicates the meat contained in the box has the proper health certificate to enter the U.S. market.


GS1 barcodes were used as backups to marks. Other GS1 standards in electronic interfaces and EPCIS were used for data sharing, including EDI messages between ERP systems, event notifications and transport instructions. The parties involved in the pilot project included logistics, shipping line, and local transportation companies; the meat processing industry; and the industry association, Meat and Livestock Australia. Government participants included the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Services, Biosecurity Australia, Australian Customs, and U.S. Customs. All played critical roles in the development and implementation of the pilot work efforts, together with GS1 Australia and GS1 US.

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