Muster on, live trade prospects are strong

Muster on, live trade prospects are strong


Live export industry working to secure supply chain amid lock-downs.


LIVE exporters are urging beef producers to continue with mustering and business as usual, confident the trade will be able to continue amid uncertainty around lock-downs.

All live export representative groups are working closely with governments and authorities to ensure the operation of the trade can continue as the situation evolves and measures are put in place to manage the outbreak and containment of coronavirus.

Disruption with standard frozen beef supply chains is expected to create increased demand for live cattle in Australia's biggest markets such as Indonesia, market experts say.

"Not only is the live cattle supply chain more simple and direct but it also provides big benefits from a local job and economy perspective," Mecardo analyst Matt Dalgleish said.

"Providing Australia has the cattle supply and ships are able to continue running, the trade will be a lifeline in places like Indonesia and South East Asia in terms of keeping red meat supply going."

The caveat would be consumption slowdown on the back of lock-downs and judging by what was experienced during the global financial crisis, beef was certainly susceptible, Mr Dalgleish said.

"The (coronavirus) situation is unprecedented - no one knows how long shutdowns will last, what individual countries will deem essential services and just how much, and for how long, demand will be affected," he said.

"But the underlying scenario from the live cattle perspective is it is a trade well situated provided the supply chain can be secured."

Peak industry representative body the Australian Livestock Exporters' Council said the challenge facing the industry with isolation periods would be securing Australian Accredited Veterinarians and accredited stockpeople to keep the trade operating at the standard the industry prides itself on.

Chief executive officer Mark Harvey-Sutton said stockpeople were not disembarking from vessels in high-risk areas and the two week isolation could commence once leaving the port for the return journey back to Australia.

"It is of paramount importance that we are able to reassure our trading partners that we continue to be a trusted and reliable supplier of livestock, capable of satisfying their food security needs even in a time of upheaval," he said.

"Our global markets are relying on the live export industry to support their food supply chains and the importance of live export is increasing given the reductions in other forms of transportation. We have a responsibility to continue to support our regional neighbours and their food production systems at this critical time."

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