Live ex­port to re­sume

Pilbara News - - News - Cally Dupe

Live cat­tle ex­porters are cau­tiously op­ti­mistic about the re­sump­tion of live ex­port from the world’s largest bulk ex­port ter­mi­nal at Port Hed­land.

Next month, a ship full of cat­tle will leave the Pil­bara for the first time since 2013-14, a boon for lo­cal pas­toral­ists hop­ing to slash freight costs.

Fron­tier In­ter­na­tional South East Asia man­ager Ash­ley James said his com­pany was in talks with Pil­bara Ports Au­thor­ity about the re­vi­talised trade path.

But he said PPA needed to prove it was as se­ri­ous about be­com­ing a hub for cat­tle ex­porters as well as the re­gion’s key min­ing industry play­ers.

“Our big­gest worry is whether we would be able to bring our ship along­side at ar­rivals,” Mr James said.

With Aus­tralia’s na­tional beef herd at a 20-year low, Mr James said ex­porters con­sid­er­ing Port Hed­land needed to make sure they could fill boats.

“We sell to the spec­i­fi­ca­tion of cus­tomers, for ex­am­ple 3000 to 4000 head, so we need to be able to buy that num­ber of cat­tle in the Pil­bara,” he said. “If it’s an or­der for a 3400 steers at a cer­tain weight then that’s what we need to put on it, but if you’re 600 short, that’s not good.”

Onslow pas­toral­ist Rory de Pledge said high rain­fall meant cat­tle had plenty of feed and could be fat­tened in the Pil­bara in­stead of be­ing trucked south.

He man­ages Ko­or­dar­rie Sta­tion, 80km south of Onslow, and plans to ex­port about 1500 head of cat­tle this year.

He said cat­tle prices, which firmed at $3.20 ear­lier in the year, looked set to re­main high for the short to medium term.

Pic­ture: Alex Massey

Live cat­tle ex­ports will re­sume in the Pil­bara next month for the first time since 2013-14.

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