05/03/2008 - 22:00

Live export trade growth – report

05/03/2008 - 22:00

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Population growth and rising incomes in South-East Asia and the Middle East are expected to support increased demand for live cattle and sheep exports, a report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics has concluded.

Population growth and rising incomes in South-East Asia and the Middle East are expected to support increased demand for live cattle and sheep exports, a report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics has concluded.

Australia’s biggest live sheep exporter, Perth-based Emanuel Exports, has welcomed the report.

Emanuel director Graham Daws said the company had two new vessels due out this year, with more in the planning process, and agrees there is great potential in the live export of animals.

“There is great consumption and we have confidence in the industry’s ability to grow,”  he said.

In 2006-07, the value of live sheep and cattle exports totalled $720 million, Abarefound.

Australia exported 638,000 cattle worth $430 million. Indonesia was the biggest market, accounting for half of all cattle exports, followed by Israel and Malaysia.

Australia also exported 4.1 million sheep worth $290 million, with most going to the Middle East.

This represented about 15 per cent of the total value of sheep meat production.

Mr Daws said Emanuel accounted for more than half the sheep exported from Australia.

“Currently, we ship 750 tonnes of  livestock,  eight times a month, but WA can’t cater for that market so we get stock from over east, and top off in Fremantle,” he said.

“If all the livestock was available from the west, all ships would load from here because of its close proximity to the Middle East.” 

The Abare report found Australia had secured its current share of the market for live sheep and cattle because of its disease-free status.

The absence of refrigeration in poor areas of South-East Asia, and strict regulations on how animals must be slaughtered in certain religious traditions, were identified as driving the demand for live exports.

The report said the limited prospects for substituting trade in meat for live exports and competition from lower cost suppliers in South America – if they eradicate foot and mouth disease – were future challenges facing the industry.

Mr Daws said a serious impediment to industry growth was Fremantle Port’s inability to cope with existing export activity.

“There is a shortage of berths and labour, and in times of high activity vessels are delayed; this massive cost will drive overseas buyers to secure stock from other regions,” he said.

The report identified an increased community concern for the welfare of exported animals as another potential problem for the industry.

Three weeks ago, Emanuel Exports had animal cruelty charges brought against it dismissed when a magistrate ruled the company was not in breach of the relevant legislation.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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