ELDERS Export cattle officer Max Cunnington was confident that six or eight shipments would be required for boats from Port Hedland this year.
"Two years ago, 20,000 cattle left the port with last year numbers down to 17,000," he said.
"As long as there are cattle available in the Pilbara we should have the opportunity to export them - as long as we are organised as an industry to do so.
³In saying this, the numbers for export are irrelevant to the discussion."
Nr Cunnington said that depots correctly set up were good from an animal welfare perspective and gave the exporter a total weight for the ship, eliminating short loading.
"If numbers are short it gives us, the agents time to source more cattle," he said.
"However, producers in the Pilbara who have proven reliable should be given the option to truck their cattle direct from the property to the port and this would only work if the property yards had been AQIS accredited, meeting their strict criteria.²
Both Landmark and Elders agents at the forum said it was critical that producers were committed to the live export trade in order for it to be successful.
"It only takes one or two pastoralists to withdraw from a boat at the last minute for it to cause a massive problem when trying to fill the boat," Mr Cunnington said.
He said the only problem he could see with depots was who would pay for the costs incurred in the depot and said it was something that would need to be worked out before being implemented.