THE largest purpose built livestock vessel was launched in China yesterday.
Australian exporter Wellard Limited unveiled the M/V Ocean Shearer which will increase its fleet carrying capacity by 50 per cent.
It can carry up to 20,000 head of cattle or 75,000 sheep or a combination of both and will be one of the highest speed vessels in the industry.
The vessel was launched at the COSCO ship yard in Dalian, China, and officially launched the world's largest livestock vessel.
In an announcement to the ASX, Wellard CEO Mauro Balzarini said the size and speed of the Ocean Shearer provided voyage flexibility as well as economic scale, especially as markets expand and distances increase.
"We have higher expectations for the M/V Ocean Shearer," he said.
"We have improved what is already an industry benchmark, our M/V Ocean Drover, with stronger ventilation, higher fresh water production and other enhancements of livestock services."
He said the improvements will enhance animal welfare outcomes.
With the vessel's fodder storage system able to hold about 3000 tonnes, and increase on previous designs, Mr Balzarini said the additional fodder capacity provides greater voyage planning flexibility and reduced costs.
"The vessel's build quality is excellent and it's electronically controlled engines will ensure high efficiency and low emissions," he said.
"She matched the required performance benchmarks during an intense sea trial program. We expect the Ocean Shearer will form an important part of Wellards strategy to develop and increase worldwide trade in live sheep and cattle, to meet growing global customer demand.
"The inclusion of the Ocean Shearer into our fleet also ensures we continue to operate the youngest fleet in the world and one of the largest Australian Maritime Safety Authority-Approved fleets in the sector."