Livestock transporters suffer while cattle prices rise

Cattle prices rocket in Queensland, but livestock transporters are not benefiting

By Ruza Zivkusic | March 23, 2011

With Queensland’s big wet pushing cattle sale prices up, truck drivers are now bracing themselves for bleak times, the Australian Livestock Transporters Association (ALTA) says.

Cattle prices have been heading skyward since the floods hit Queensland due to shortages, which ALTA CEO Philip Halton says is putting more pressure on operators already struggling to land work.

He says some members who were carting for $1.80 a deck have seen their prices drop by 40 cents.

"Just because the value of the cargo changes doesn’t necessarily have an impact on the price you can charge for running a truck," he says.

"If there’s shortage of cattle and there’s less work for transporters, they’re going to be in an environment where they’re competing to offer an attractive price and that doesn’t mean that the rates are going to go up as a result of this."

Halton says some operators are barely breaking even on the prices they’re charging to attract work.

"I’ve got some members in Queensland who are turning down some work because it’s simply not economic to get the truck out there; they’re better off staying home," he says.

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