SFM's Auction System

SFM has been using the Dutch clock auction since 1989. Adopted from the Dutch tulip auctions, the system ensures product is sold quickly while achieving premium prices.

Held from 5.30am every weekday, except public holidays, the Dutch clock auction is a silent auction which begins at the highest price and drops until a bid is made. The starting price is usually set about $2 above what the product is expected to receive. Two clocks auction seafood simultaneously to ensure product is sold quickly.

Under the Dutch clock auction around 1000 crates are sold every hour. On average each crate weighs 23 kilograms. SFM sells around 2700 crates at every auction, which equates to an average of 50-55 tonnes of fresh seafood every day.

There are 350 registered active buyers, of which approximately 160 accounts are used daily to purchase from the auction. Buyers begin viewing the produce from 4.30am. Before being eligible to bid at SFM each buyer must register. When they register majority of buyers are assigned a credit limit in accordance with their respective bank guarantee lodged with SFM.

To make a bid, buyers enter their six digit log on number into one of the 260 key pads in the buyer's grandstand. Each buyer's terminal has two bid buttons allowing them to participate in both auctions.

Once buyers have purchased the seafood and printed out their removal dockets, the seafood is collected from the auction floor. Wheelers pick up the product and take it to be scanned at the removal gate before it is whisked away to retail outlets and restaurants.

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