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Wellard celebrates first air shipment to China and maritime shipment from Brazil

28 February 2011

Wellard’s first consignment of breeding cattle to China by air has arrived safely and successfully in Hohhot China.

Widely recognised for the maritime transport of livestock through its ownership of one of the largest and most modern livestock shipping fleets in the world, Wellard completed its inaugural airfreight live export to China when seven bulls, 175 pregnant and 74 unjoined heifers were flown from Melbourne, Victoria.

The Wagyu and Angus cattle were sourced from Victoria and were flown to China on board a Qantas 747 400 specialised cargo plane. They were aggregated and prepared for export at Wellard’s AQIS-registered quarantine facility, Turkey Heath, in Western Victoria.

Wellard Rural Exports Managing Director Steve Meerwald said the intense focus on optimal animal welfare outcomes Wellard applies to its shipping fleet was extended to the air cargo.

“Livestock preparation and care in transit are crucial to maximising animal welfare whether by air or sea, and the great results we achieved with this air cargo reflected our focus on those two key elements,” Mr Meerwald said.

“The aviation transport of livestock is a specialised industry and we expect this will be the start of more regular flights for Wellard. Our customer has been very happy with the results so far.”

Last year Wellard shipped 16,000 cattle to China on board its specialist livestock vessels. Mr Meerwald said maritime transport was the most efficient method of exporting cattle to China, but in certain cases aviation transport was required.

”This small, specialised cargo of high value breeding cattle could only be supplied by air and feedback from our customer is that they are very satisfied with the quality of the animals and that they have travelled very well.”

In a week of firsts, Wellard has also just shipped its first consignment of cattle from Brazil.

Wellard’s M/V Ocean Drover sailed from Belem, Brazil, with 16,500 Nelore bulls last week.

The doubling of Wellard’s livestock fleet from two vessels to four in 2010 enabled Wellard to expand its live export supply chain from Australia to New Zealand last year and to Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia in South America this year.
The Wellard fleet of livestock vessels is one of the largest and the most technologically advanced in the world, enabling it to export and ship livestock at the highest level of shipping and animal standards from every port of loading to every port of discharge all around the globe.

“Wellard is an expanding, international trading business. In recent years Wellard has invested in broadacre farming in Australia, beef and sheepmeat exports, shipping and feedlots in the Middle East and South East Asia, as well as increasing its live export footprint,” Wellard Executive Chairman Mauro Balzarini said. “The first shipment from Brazil continues that growth.”

Mr Meerwald said the addition of South American shipments to Wellard’s large Australian operations and experience would aid the growth of the international live export industry.

“The additional shipping capacity we now have built and commissioned will enable Wellard to operate efficiently and professionally in the global marketplace,” he said. “Interest in the international trade is increasing and Wellard has been able to meet that demand for high quality shipping services.”

Wellard General Manager – Cattle Anthony Fellows oversaw the shipment on the M/V Ocean Drover.“It was very exciting to work in Brazil and I am happy with how things have developed,” Mr Fellows said.

“Of course we have to go through a learning process as it was very different to operating in Australia where the Wellard organisation is well established after exporting more than 1.5 million cattle.

“However, the cattle industry is very professional in Brazil and the cattle quality is excellent. All the ingredients required to establish a similarly efficient operation to Australia are present in Brazil, which combined with our expanded, modern fleet, will make our operations here a success.”

Wellard International General Manager Henry Steingiesser helped to establish the Brazilian shipment.

“Local Brazilian cattle producers welcome a new player in the market and especially one with Wellard’s reputation for professionalism and high animal welfare standards,” he said. “It gives Brazilian cattle farmers more options for the sale of their cattle.

“Wellard is now seeking to establish a presence in a number of South American countries to utilise our bank of knowledge and expertise which has been built on 30 years of exporting livestock to the highest possible animal welfare standards.”

“The Balzarini family have operated extensively from South America in the past, so I am confident we can build a solid business here to complement our Australia operations.”
The shipment of cattle aboard the M/V Ocean Drover from Brazil was preceded by a shipment of 7,700 cattle on the M/V Ocean Outback from Montevideo, Uruguay, and the transport of 17,000 Colombian cattle to Beirut on the M/V Ocean Drover.

Wellard’s other ships are deployed on Australian cattle duties. The M/V Ocean Swagman is en route to Portland to load dairy cattle for export to China. The M/V Ocean Shearer has just discharged Western Australian cattle in Indonesia and will next transport cattle from Portland and Fremantle to Turkey and sheep and cattle to Saudi Arabia.

For further information please contact:

Cameron Morse
Phone: + 61 8 9386 1233
Mobile: +61 433 886 871
Website: www.wellard.com.au


Background – Wellard Rural and Trading

Wellard is a world leader in the production and distribution of livestock and grain.

Its two largest subsidiaries are Wellard Rural Exports, Australia’s largest livestock exporter and ship owner, and Wellard Agri, a large mixed farming land owner and operator specialising in the production of grains, legumes and livestock.

Wellard Rural Exports has supplied quality dairy and beef cattle and sheep and goats to the world for more than 30 years, and its investment in the live export industry is without peer.  Based in Fremantle, Western Australia, the company’s operations cover every aspect of the export chain, including feed milling, livestock aggregation, road transport, feedlot facilities throughout Australia and modern shipping.

The company’s flagship carrier, the MV Ocean Drover (formerly the MV Becrux), is a purpose-built livestock carrier capable of carrying 75,000 sheep or 18,000 cattle to major markets around the globe.  She was commissioned in 2002.

Its MV Ocean Shearer (formerly the MV Stella Deneb) can carry 125,000 sheep or 23,000 cattle, or a combination of both.

Two new, technologically advanced, purpose-built vessels, the MV Ocean Swagman and the MV Ocean Outback, were launched in 2010. They offer unparalleled levels of safety for the livestock, crew and vessel, and can transport 7000 cattle, 25,000 sheep, or a combination of both.

Wellard Agri owns and operates eight farms covering 33,000 hectares across three agri-hubs. The two northern hubs are located at Dongara and Watheroo in Western Australia’s central midlands and one is located at Kojonup in the Great Southern region of WA.

The Dongara hub is home to The Grange, a 14,500 hectare property which is considered one of Western Australia’s blue chip farming properties.

The remaining landholding totals more than 18,000 hectares, of which 14,000 hectares is cropped to a variety of grains and legumes. The other 4000ha is devoted to sheep production, including the famous Hyfield Poll Merino stud at Kojonup. In addition, Wellard leases an additional 14,500ha for livestock and grain production.

Wellard Agri also has operations in the farm machinery sector, through management of the CLAAS Harvest Centres at Katanning and Esperance for the Landpower range of farm machinery.

Visit www.wellard.com.au