Local beef exports to benefit pastoralists
Pilbara pastoralists hope to save up to $100 a head next year by exporting locally instead of trucking cattle to Perth or Broome.
A ship loaded with cattle will leave Port Hedland in March, the region’s first pastoral export since the end of the 2012-13 financial year.
Anna Plains Station manager David Stoate said exporting locally would save pastoralists being “killed” by the cost of freight.
“It costs us about $80 or $90 per head to transport to Broome, compared to $5 or $10 to go from a port up here (in the Pilbara),” he said.
His station, on the edge of the Kimberley and Pilbara, exports up to 6000 head a year from Broome and Perth.
In the port of Port Hedland’s last shipment of cattle, 8300 head set sail for the Middle East.
Authorities hope the town will ship 65,000-100,000 head within the next decade.
Emu Creek Station manager Darryl Penny said exporting from Port Hedland instead of Perth would halve his freight costs.
Mr Penny also said it was not uncommon for cattle to lose about 27kg on the journey to Perth, which “at $3 per kilo was almost $90 per beast”.
“The less time they can spend on the truck the better — it will save us about $40 or $50 in weight because it’s half the distance,” he said.
“It will save more in freight costs because it is a long drive to Perth.”
Emu Creek Station exports about 400 head a year from Perth.
Pilbara Ports Authority said it would construct a moveable loading ramp which could be used on all three public berths, but its ultimate goal was for livestock exports to be transported to the proposed Lumsden Point facility.
Pilbara Ports Authority development and trade general Lyle Banks said the report indicated within 10 years there could be between 65,000 and 100,000 head exported from the town.