China cat­tle ex­port mile­stone

Countryman - - LIVESTOCK - Jenne Bram­mer

Wel­lard’s first ship­ment of slaugh­ter cat­tle to China set sail from Port­land in Vic­to­ria last week, mark­ing a mile­stone in the em­bat­tled WA ex­porter’s re­cov­ery plans.

The cat­tle ship­ment also marks the big­gest from Aus­tralia to China since the two coun­tries signed a free-trade agree­ment in 2015, open­ing the way for live ex­ports to the lu­cra­tive Chi­nese mar­ket. High prices for Aus­tralian cat­tle since then have sti­fled de­vel­op­ment of the Chi­nese ex­port trade, lim­it­ing sales to two air con­sign­ments and a smaller sea ship­ment by El­ders in Fe­bru­ary.

How­ever, Wel­lard seized the op­por­tu­nity from a slight eas­ing in prices in re­cent months to ar­range the ship­ment of 2000 An­gus and An­gus-cross steers, sourced from Vic­to­ria and South Aus­tralia. The cat­tle were loaded aboard the 23-year-old MV Ocean Ute for the voy­age to Shi­dao in the Chi­nese prov­ince of Shan­dong and will be sup­plied to Rongcheng HCMH Trade and Ser­vice — a sub­sidiary of Tai Xiang Group, a Chi­nese com­pany spe­cial­is­ing in frozen and pro­cessed food.

Wel­lard ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions Fred Tron­cone said the group had been care­ful to en­sure its first ship­ment was man­aged pro­fes­sion­ally with qual­ity cat­tle, the aim be­ing to de­velop a more reg­u­lar trade, grow­ing cat­tle ex­ports to China and in­creas­ing ves­sel util­i­sa­tion.

He said smaller ship­ments would dom­i­nate the ini­tial live cat­tle trade be­tween the two coun­tries in the short term but it had the ca­pac­ity to in­crease sig­nif­i­cantly as the com­mer­cial land­scape re­bal­anced.

Wel­lard has no im­mi­nent plans to ship cat­tle to China from WA.

Wel­lard op­er­a­tions man­ager Ben Gi­blett and China gen­eral man­ager Bernie Bros­nan with the cat­tle ahead of load­ing.

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