Kuwait Livestock Transport & Trading (KLTT) recently acquired a new vessel into their fleet, which was renamed the MV Al Kuwait, and delivered a record animal welfare performance on its first voyage under company ownership.
KLTT's Perth-based subsidiary Rural Export and Trading loaded 60,183 sheep and 910 cattle in Fremantle mid-April before it sailed for the Gulf ports of Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.
After the 18 day voyage with three ports of discharge the voyage delivery success rate of 99.90 per cent for sheep and 100pc for cattle was achieved.
During the voyage 62 sheep died from various causes. The Australian Government Accredited Veterinarian reported mortalities were not related to the voyage, vessel conditions or heat stress and the voyage mortality rate is the lowest on company record.
There were 58 sheep isolated and treated in hospital pens during the voyage for various aliments. Of those, 56 of the hospital cases made a full recovery and were discharged in good health.
The AAV reported feed consumption was robust throughout the voyage and never waivered.
KLTT acknowledged the new vessel's modern design and ventilation in helping deliver excellent results in addition to the careful selection and purchase, preparation of livestock, and on-board management practices.
The sister vessel MV Al Messilah has recently had ventilation upgrades and the consignment currently on the water is also reporting excellent animal welfare outcomes.
"Our company and our clients are very impressed with the quality of sheep discharged at each port from recent shipments, this has been critical to food security in our region," said Osama Boodai, Chief Executive Officer KLTT.
RETWA continues to improve systems across the supply chain with increased monitoring and reporting at every stage.
"Western Australian producers, buyers, agents and our livestock supplier oversight in selecting quality livestock and removing animals not suitable for the journey is critical to successful consignments," said Mr Michael Gordon, Managing Director of RETWA.
"The quarantine facility staff take great pride in presenting well prepared sheep that meet our customer requirements."
The Al Kuwait vessel is currently returning back to Fremantle to load a consignment at the end of May, before returning to Gulf countries of Kuwait and UAE. Live sheep exports to the Middle East will stop as of June 1 with the commencement of the summer moratorium preventing shipments from leaving Australia until the trade resumes in mid September.
The recent regulatory decisions on live sheep exports by the Australian government are disappointing to KLTT and RETWA. "Animal welfare is part of good business and has always been a company focus with significant investments in the vessel fleet, feedlot infrastructure and abattoirs which are world class," said Mr Boodai.
The lack of international flights into the Middle East region since the world wide outbreak of Covid-19 and the inability of the markets to be replenished with a range of fresh food stuffs including fresh meat has seen a greater recognition of the ability for sea transport to deliver live animals to these markets.
KLTT is currently operating three vessels predominantly from Australia and is still having difficulty meeting the demand from the markets and customers.
KLTT says it will continue to invest in the live animal export supply chain internationally and is expanding the footprint beyond the long term relationship with Australia by sourcing livestock from South Africa, Eastern Europe and other markets.