THE 2018 livestock export calendar year has kicked off on a positive note, with the first consigment of slaughter cattle from northern Australia exported to China.
The shipment of 1600 crossbred cattle was prepared by the North Australian Cattle Company and destined for Zhejiang Province after a 10-day voyage.
(NACC general manager Patrick Underwood is pictured with Elders Townsville's Tom Kennedy, who assisted in sourcing the cattle from Queensland producers.)
The consignment represents the first export of northern cattle since animal health protocols with China were finalised alongside the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement.
“In addition to the professional stockman on board, and the team of livestock workers who are members of the Bison Express crew, an Australian-Government Accredited Veterinarian (AAV) will be on board throughout the voyage," ALEC said.
“Given that export agreement applies specific conditions on the export of cattle sourced from Australia’s bluetongue zone, this week’s shipment of northern cattle is a significant breakthrough and testament to the enterprising nature of Australian livestock exporters.
“This shipment is a significant step in the development of the feeder/slaughter beef cattle trade to China, in line with export agreement struck between Australia and China in 2015 alongside the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement.”
RMAC Independent Chair Don Mackay also welcomed the historic voyage.
“This week’s breakthrough shipment from Townsville demonstrates what can be achieved when members of the red meat industry work together with government and our overseas customers," Mr Mackay said.
"The forging of new markets complements our existing export supply chains, while adding extra competition for producers and increasing the overall value of Australia’s $18 billion red meat sector.”
Cattle Council of Australia President Howard Smith echoed Mr Mackay sentiment.
“We recognise the Australian livestock export trade as an economically significant alternative to domestic processing, creating essential market diversity and competition for Australian cattle producers," Mr Smith said.
"The departure of this shipment of slaughter cattle from Townsville to China is a perfect example of the beef sector’s diversification. The shipment also continues to demonstrate that our domestic biosecurity protocols protect our sector and, importantly, receive recognition from overseas markets.”
The Port of Townsville is Australia’s second largest export port for live cattle, facilitating the movement of more than 200,000 head over the past 12 months. The Port's acting Chief Executive Officer, Claudia Brumme-Smith, said the shipment represented a very exciting day for northern Australian agriculture exports.
“The development of a live cattle export supply chain from Townsville could be a real win for regional producers who can offer cattle which are suitable for the Chinese market.”
“Our port has undergone infrastructure upgrades over the past few years to improve logistics infrastructure for cattle exporters, giving us the capacity to export up to one million head per year.”
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