Major Middle East live sheep importer expecting ‘imminent’ licence decision

Terry Sim, October 12, 2018

A MAJOR Middle East live sheep importer is hopeful its Australian subsidiary will gain export licence approval within days.

The majority Kuwait government-owned Al Mawashi/Kuwait Livestock and Trading Company has been Australia’s biggest sheep buyer, but its 2018 import program was compromised by the suspension and cancellation of licences held by Emanuel Exports and EMS Rural Exports earlier this year.

In 2017, KLTT imported 1.28 million Australian sheep, out of the 1.88 million exported live from Australia.

Wholly-owned KLTT subsidiary in Australia, Rural Export and Trading WA, applied for an export licence in August this year and RETWA general manager Mike Gordon said he was hopeful licence approval was imminent.

He has been told the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources was still working through some issues with the licence application, but were being “extra cautious” and wanted to make sure it “dotted its I’s and crossed its t’s.”

“I had a talk to the department yesterday and we are not going to get it this week.

“My discussions with them lead me to believe, it (approval) is pretty close,” he said.

“And I’m also making the assumption that it is pretty close to being successful, not them turning around and saying they are not going to give it to me.

“We are hopeful that approval is imminent – imminent to me is within the next week,” he said.

“I believe that’s the case, it will be any day now.”

Mr Gordon said if approval was granted RETWA aimed to send sheep to the Middle East within three weeks.

KLTT currently has two sheep vessels anchored off Fremantle. They are the Al Messilah which has had a capacity of up to 75,000 sheep and the Al Shuwaikh which has carried up to 80,000 sheep, before new stocking density rules were put in place by the department.

“With the additional space requirements, the sheep numbers shipped will be well under those figures,” Mr Gordon said.

The department recently issued an export advisory notice detailing changes to conditions for the export of sheep by sea to the Middle East from November 1 until the implementation of revised Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock in 2019. This means vessels carrying sheep to the Middle East via the Persian Gulf and Red Sea will 17.5 percent lower than the current ASEL and the agreed heat stress assessment plan recommended in the McCarthy Review. Vessels will also have to have pen air turnover independently verified by a qualified mechanical engineer.

Click here to read the latest export advisory notice detailing changes to conditions for sheep exports to the Middle East from November 1, 2018.


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