ONE of Australia’s largest livestock exporters says moving sheep exports from Fremantle to Kwinana would be ideal.
Wellard Rural Exports managing director Steve Meerwald said the company, which has feedlots in Wellard and Baldivis, was waiting on an alternative to Fremantle.
Two proposals for Kwinana, including James Point Pty Ltd, Private Port on-shore facility, and Fremantle Ports, Kwinana Quay offshore facility, are currently under consideration by the State Government.
“It’s an ideal scenario... but realistically the majority of livestock should be moved from the Fremantle inner harbour,” he said. “It’s a tragedy that seven years down the track from when James Point was first proposed, we are not really any closer to it, no actual physical facility.”
Mr Meerwald said transport issues in Fremantle were becoming worse and Kwinana could easily cater for the livestock industry, which exported more than three million sheep from Fremantle last year.
“It’s much more efficient transport from our feedlots in Baldivis and Wellard, the roads are designed for trucks and it’s a much more livestock friendly transport route than through Leach and Canning Highway with stopping and starting and much heavier traffic,” he said.
“Realistically it’s put in the middle of a significant industrial area… loading could be done more efficiently and quickly with a faster turnaround.”
Despite opposition from the Town of Kwinana, Conservation of Rockingham group and Kwinana Progress Association, Mr Meerwald said the community would not even know a livestock ship was at the port.
“I don’t see it will have an impact other than some people having some perception thinking that it will. I don’t think people will know a ship is in,” he said.
“The feedlots are closer to the town that the port will be, and there are no significant issues from that.”
Mr Meerwald said the well-being of livestock would improve if shipping went through Kwinana because the time in trucks would be reduced.
“As soon as it (a port) is available, we are more than ready to use it,” he said.