Cattle. Stanley port welcomed its first shipment of cattle in over 20 years last week.
Two hundred and thirty cattle were shipped from King Island to Stanley on August 20, followed by a second shipment of 240 on Tuesday.
The new shipping service means that cattle being transported from King Island no longer has to travel via Burnie to Smithton, minimising the trip by over five hours.
Greenham Tasmanian livestock manager Graeme Pretty said the original trip took 12-13 hours on water plus 1 and a half hours on the road. The new trip sees the cattle travel for 7-8 hours plus 15 minutes on the road.
Mr Pretty said years of work had made Stanley a viable port for the shipment and the end result was rewarding. “It’s a win win situation. For the animals, farmers and Greenhams,” he said.
He said the new route minimised the animals’ stress levels which helped with grading. Meat Standards Australia grading assesses the meat for colour and PH balance, both of which are affected by stress.
Already there has been an increase of cattle meeting the grading requirements, Mr Pretty said, with the first load seeing 10 per cent more cattle meet the requirements than usual.
“Tasmanian farmers produce the best cattle in the world and they should be given every opportunity to grade MSA.”
Mr Pretty said the benefits for Circular Head do not stop at farmers. “Another spinoff of this is the increased employment and money generated in the local economy.”
He said the owner of the vessel, L D Shipping, buys all fuel locally and the vessel’s crew of seven shop locally.
“Any maintenance and repairs to the vessel will be done locally,” he said. “And we have employed two Stanley men to tie and untie the vessel.” A further five local cartage contractors were employed to transport the livestock.
The shipping service now allows for a direct service from Stanley to King Island, the only port in mainland Tasmania to ship direct to King Island. Up until now, all freight has gone from mainland Tasmania to Melbourne before going to King Island.
“We’ve already had enquiries from local businesses to take freight back to King Island,” Mr Pretty said.
Mr Pretty said the shipment service will increase to 2-3 times weekly in summer, with the option of being a daily service if required. “Stanley port is the deepest port in Tasmania, ” Mr Pretty said. “You could use it seven days a week, 24 hours a day.”