THE Fremantle Port Authority (FPA) had no plans to relocate livestock exports from its inner harbour, according to acting chief executive officer Steve Wade.
He said the live export trade was an important part of the port's business mix, which also included containers, break-bulk cargoes and other commodities.
There has been a general feeling among live exporters that livestock exports from Fremantle Port faced a limited future because of encroaching high quality housing on the eastern side of the harbour.
Mr Wade said that in recent years, the FPA had held discussions with industry to reduce the noise and odour from livestock ships.
A preferred berthing policy ensured that where possible, livestock ships would be tied up at Berth 2 on the western side of the harbour.
There was also monitoring of noise from livestock ships to determine which ones should be given priority for Berth 2 when there was more than two livestock vessels in port at the same time.
There had been a speedier washdown of ships as well, while bollards had also been installed at Berth 2 for better tie down in stormy weather.
Mr Wade said the FPA was helping fund research into reducing livestock odour through dietary measures.
WA Government sources indicated the number of livestock exported through Fremantle in the 2001-02 year totalled 3.6m sheep and 133,806 head of cattle, with both species experiencing a drop on the previous fiscal year.
The 18pc drop in sheep exports was attributed to the price and pressure created by demand from Saudi Arabia which caused falls in exports to a number of other major markets, including the UAE, Jordan and Egypt.
Sheep exports to Saudi Arabia from Fremantle reached 1.2m head in 2001-02.
Another reason for the drop in sheep exports through Fremantle in the past fiscal year was due to limited numbers available in WA due to drought.
The live sheep exported through Fremantle in 2001-02, valued at $225m, made up about half the 6.5m live sheep exported nationally, of which 98pc went to the Middle East and North African destinations.
The lifting of Middle Eastern bans on African sheep, growing constraints on the availability of the Australian sheep and lambs, and a rising dollar were likely to cause some decline in sheep exports over the medium term.
Fremantle Port exported 133,806 head of cattle valued at $96m in 2001, with numbers 8.6pc down on the previous year.
However, live cattle exports through Fremantle were expected to increase to 155,000 head for the 2002-03 year in line with increased demand from Indonesia and the Philippines.
Fremantle Port's largest export markets in 2001/02 were Egypt, Israel, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.