First for Frontier

07 Jan, 2016 01:00 AM

LIVE exporter Frontier International Agri has reached WA shores for the first time.

Frontier last week loaded its first Fremantle vessel of 2238 head of cattle destined for Vietnam, a first for the company.

Frontier International Agri is a Ruralco partnership focused primarily on live export which was formed in October 2013 and exported more than 130,000 head of cattle last year.

The 12-month-old vessel, the Gelvray, built in Broome, was filled to capacity last week for a trial shipment from the port.

The company said it will discuss the logistics of using the WA port in the future.

Operations manager for South East Asia Ashley James said Frontier had the option of shipping from Townsville or Fremantle when the wet season pushed it to move exporting out of the north.

"In the wet season you have to head to the west," he said.

"It's a slaughter market for Vietnam, and due to the wet season it pushed us down south.

"We had the option of Townsville or Fremantle and thought we would give WA a go.

"I am from WA, and we were told we could get numbers without too much of a headache - so we decided to go with Fremantle.

"The quality of the cattle were excellent, I cannot fault it."

The shipment of Droughtmaster and Santa Gertrudis are due to arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam, on January 10.

"We have been shipping to Vietnam since we started," Mr James said.

"Indonesia is our main business, but we would do about 50,000-60,000 a year into Vietnam.

"I think it is a developing market, once the lotfeeders there learn the system.

"I think at the moment it is more of a trading environment, but it will be a lot more value adding in the future."

Government regulations surrounding stock density out of Fremantle port caused some concerns for the exporter.

"Logistically it can be difficult to get a number of cattle out of Fremantle because of the restrictions," Mr James said.

"We would look to go back to Fremantle, but it is difficult, whereas in the Northern Territory it's a lot easier.

"(At 2238 head) we had a full vessel for WA, but out of the Northern Territory a full vessel is 2400-2500 head."

Mr James said the restrictions would need to be considered if the partnership was to continue to ship out of Fremantle.

Jacinta Bolsenbroek

Jacinta Bolsenbroek

is a senior journalist at Farm Weekly


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