FORMER Wellard CEO Mauro Balzarini has unveiled plans to develop a new livestock export venture, based on “cleaner, smarter” LNG-powered livestock vessels that he says will significantly improve animal welfare and environmental performance.
In a statement issued to media today, Mr Balzarini said he plans to build a new generation of LNG-powered ships “to revolutionise the livestock trade”.
Mr Balzarini ceased employment as chief executive officer of Wellard in June, ending 40 years of involvement with the company by his family. During his career Mr Balzarini helped to develop Wellard into Australia’s largest livestock exporting business, before publicly listing the company in 2015. He has now relocated to Queenstown in New Zealand, following an out of court settlement with Wellard.
Mr Balzarini said the new venture will be called NextSeaWell. Details such as how the new venture would be funded, how many vessels will be built and anticipated construction time frames have not yet been divulged.
Mr Balzarini said the newly designed vessels will be fully digitalised to provide improvements to animal welfare, better environmental performance and ensure optimum operation for better commercial outcomes.
The new ships will run on LNG, providing approximately a 30 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and almost totally eliminating harmful pollutants including sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides.
Mr Balzarini said innovation was essential for improving performance in the shipping industry because many ships currently operating would become obsolete in the near future.
“Ships that I designed and built many years ago are still considered the best in the world only due to the fact they were very innovative during their initial designs,” Mr Balzarini said.
“However, considering the average age of vessels in the water is around 20 years, there is a need to design even more innovative ships to combat changing emission regulations.
“We also need to show the public that we are invested in improving standards to make livestock trade more sustainable and in the best interests of Australian producers and exporters.”
The ships will have a capacity of around 11,000 head of cattle and the modern livestock service systems will maintain lower deck temperatures to reduce heat stress on animals.
Mr Balzarini said he sees significant opportunity for live exports from both Australia and New Zealand to service growing Asian markets.
Coupled with the digitalisation and LNG fuel, hull design and weight reduction would ensure even better environmental performance and reduced operating costs.
He said an intensive design phase is underway and will be followed by a testing and validation phase to ensure all elements meet intended performance requirements.