Op­er­a­tors fear for busi­ness

Countryman - - NEWS - Zach Relph

I fielded a call from a grown man who was cry­ing on the end of the phone. Andy Ja­cob

The State’s premier live­stock trans­port body warns rip­pling reper­cus­sions caused by the live ex­port halt could de­liver a fa­tal blow to WA-based truck­ing owner­op­er­a­tors by the year’s end.

Ru­ral and Live­stock Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Andy Ja­cob out­lined a lull in live­stock move­ments dur­ing the north­ern sum­mer hav­ing sig­nif­i­cant ef­fects on road live­stock car­ri­ers.

Mr Ja­cob said the RLTA found a live sheep would be car­ried about 31⁄2 times by the time it reached Fre­man­tle Port.

How­ever, sheep en route to a WAbased abat­toir would be car­ried about 11⁄2 times.

At last Thurs­day’s Pas­toral­ists and Gra­ziers As­so­ci­a­tion con­ven­tion, Mr Ja­cob said mul­ti­ple or­gan­i­sa­tion mem­bers were con­cerned about busi­ness vi­a­bil­ity be­cause of de­creased ship­ping op­por­tu­nity.

Mr Ja­cob said he had an­swered about six calls in the last fort­night from owner-op­er­a­tors un­sure if their op­er­a­tions would sur­vive the live ex­port un­cer­tainty.

“They are gen­uinely con­cerned about their busi­ness and whether or not they are go­ing to make it to Christ­mas,” he said.

“They are not get­ting the work that was hap­pen­ing, so the lo­cal car­rier is in grave fear of be­com­ing ex­tinct — the knock-on ef­fect is re­ally start­ing to be felt.

“I fielded a call from a grown man who was cry­ing on the end of the phone, he is gen­uinely con­cerned about his busi­ness.

“The big­gest con­cern is the vol­ume of move­ments and that is go­ing to be fun­da­men­tal on who stays in the game and who doesn’t.”

Emanuel Ex­ports ex­port ser­vices man­ager John Ed­wards told the fo­rum re­duced sheep ex­ports was se­verely hurt­ing the WA econ­omy.

Mr Ed­wards said from June to Septem­ber last year, about 532,000 sheep were ex­ported from WA with an es­ti­mated re­turn to farm­ers worth more than $61 mil­lion.

In the same pe­riod this year, he said about 19,000 sheep had been shipped from the State, with the de­crease im­ped­ing ser­vices con­nected to the live ex­port in­dus­try.

“The in­come loss this year will be far in ex­cess of the fig­ures (from 2017),” he said.

“Should we in­clude losses ex­pe­ri­enced from ser­vices of sup­pli­ers, the amount of dol­lars will run into tens of mil­lions for re­gional WA.”

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