LIVESTOCK Shipping Services has moved to place its business in a more sound position to counter new regulations to the live export trade which are due to come into effect on January 1, 2020.
The Perth-based company had spent a "significant" amount of money to refurbish the livestock carrier, Bader III by cutting out its twin tier decks to operate a single tier only.
The work was done at a European shipyard and would see a dramatic reduction in the sheep stocking density.
Prior to the reduced stocking density requirements, the Bader III had an approximate carrying capacity of 110,000 sheep, or 75,000 sheep and 10,000 cattle.
LSS livestock manager Harold Sealy confirmed the Bader III alteration and said with the twin tier removed, its sheep carrying capacity had been almost halved.
"The alterations to the ship were not without significant cost," Mr Sealy said.
It also meant the vessel was no longer Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) accredited but still meets the OiE standards and requirements, the international standard for the transport of livestock.
The new vessel restrictions under Marine Order 43 were instituted by the AMSA in order to phase out older vessels.
This regulation was to be introduced in 2023 but was brought forward to 2020 to ensure greater animal welfare standards were met, although the industry believes there was no difference in mortality rates of sheep on a twin tier or single tier vessel.
Mr Sealy said the Bader III had been operating out of South America since its refit, taking cattle into the Middle East and Europe.
He said while the vessel was capable of transporting sheep and or cattle, it was unviable to operate out of Australia.
Mr Sealy said the Bader III would look at opportunities to take sheep and cattle from other European suppliers of livestock into Middle East markets when those opportunities presented.
LSS recently purchased Wellard's La Bergerie feedlot at Baldivis, Wongan Hills feed mill and Beaufort River Meats, Kojonup, to add to its existing operations, which were significant investments of more than $8 million at a time of uncertainty for the trade.
"It shows that there is strong customer requirements for the trade of livestock and the company is committed to the industry," Mr Sealy said.
LSS was established in 1998 and has been involved in the supply of livestock from Australia to markets around the world, with a market presence worth $180 million annually to the Australian economy.
During this time, LSS has developed access to one of the largest livestock transport fleets in the world, currently comprising 11 livestock transport vessels.
LSS has an expansive network of supply hubs around the world, including Australia, Uruguay, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, China, and the United States of America, which enables LSS to rapidly respond to changing markets and ensure customer needs are satisfied.