Shipping capacity concern

Rueben HaleThe West Australian
The West logo

Live exporters have expressed concern about Australia's shipping capacity on the back of surging live exports to Asia.

Last week, Australia's largest live cattle export market, Indonesia, issued permits for the importation of 167,000 head of live cattle in the third quarter.

This accounts for a 140 per cent increase (493,874 head) over three quarters, compared with 2013.

WA Live Exporters Association chairman Nick Daws said the number of available vessels to ship livestock was "in short supply".

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


He said it was becoming apparent to the industry that the sharp increase in exports to Indonesia and other Asian countries meant shipping capacity was not keeping pace.

"Long-haul vessels are of particular concern at the moment," he said

Mr Daws said in the past three years, shipping capacity had decreased by 60,000 head.

"The Al Kuwait, Ocean Shearer and Cormo Express have removed 230,000 head of capacity and has only been replaced with 170,000 capacity from the newly commission Nada and Awassi Express," he said.

But Mr Daws also said it was pleasing the new ships were catering to emerging markets.

"The Awassi Express has a specially designed deck to accommodate camels," he said.

Australia is to begin exporting thousands of live camels to the Middle East after one of Saudi Arabia's richest businessmen invested tens of millions of dollars in a ship designed to open up the trade.

Pannawonica pastoralist Michael Percy said the shipping shortages were a result of the fluctuation of fortunes in the live export market.

Mr Percy of Yalleen Station said he hoped shipping companies would be able respond in time to the rising demand from Asia.

"Shipping capacity was seriously depleted with the downturn in the market after the ban," he said.

"Last year, before Indonesia really ramped up I guess, there was little demand, but now the industry has totally changed again.

"But the export market has brightened up again and taken the capacity."

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails