Port has capacity for China cattle deal
TOWNSVILLE’S port could triple its live export trade, with the region’s cattle industry confident it will benefit from Australia’s landmark trade deal with China.
Many industry figures have expressed caution following the signing off on the deal to send one million cattle to China, with the country’s disease protocols favouring cattle in Australia’s south because of the prevalence of the non- infectious bluetongue disease in North Queensland.
But some of Queensland’s leading cattlemen, who met in Townsville yesterday to discuss crucial recent developments in the international live trade market, were optimistic China would alter its protocols to take in a significant amount of northern cattle.
It comes after Townsville’s port has set records for live cattle exports the past two years, handling 250,000 cattle in 2014 and 165,000 so far this year.
AgForce cattle president Bim Struss said he could see Port of Townsville’s livestock “doubling or trebling” on the back of the China deal.
“We haven’t seen the new protocols yet ( and) it’s all up in the air, but I would be surprised that if they’re talking the numbers they’re talking, if they wouldn’t be taking some northern cattle,” he said.
“There would have to be some relaxation, in my opinion, on that Bluetongue vector, or the way it’s handled.
“It may be as simple as cattle with vector may be shipped to certain ports … and kept separate from other cattle.
“What comes out of it all, we’re not sure yet but I think it’s going to be positive.”
Beef producer Alex Stubbs, who owns 1000ha of cattle property between Mirriwinni and the Atherton Tableland, said Townsville could export a lot of the cattle being sent through Darwin as Australia sent less cattle to Indonesia.