Ban lifted, but livestock transporters still face uncertainty

The Indonesian live export ban has been lifted, but livestock transporters aren't tipping a boost to their bottom lines

By Ruza Zivkusic | July 22, 2011

It might have been lifted, but the Indonesian live export ban continues to burden the transport industry with livestock exporters expecting only a 2 percent profit this year.

Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) Executive Director Philip Halton says many operators, especially in northern Australia, are turning to banks to make ends meet.

And it’s not only the transporters that are suffering. A Western Australia Government survey has found 85 percent of cattle producers are out of pocket because of the ban which was lifted on July 6, with half of them having to sack staff and others struggling to meet bank payments.

Halton is calling on the Federal Government to pressure the banks to offer assistance to those affected.

"They are in a quite difficult situation so financial help by the governments and by banks and lenders is something that could help people," he says.

"Westpac Bank has announced that they’re willing to look into deferring payments and give people some discretion treatments which is very pleasing.

"I understand there is some kind of meetings between the government and representatives from the four major banks in Australia and we are aware that the expression of means of transport operators was especially raised with the banks.

"People are starting to think seriously just about how much work there’ll be this year. The best that anyone is hoping for is to get about 40 percent in terms of trade but some people’s estimates are much lower than that.

"There’s going to be people who are not going to make anything like the earnings they expect this year and they’ll either have to dip into cash reserves or go to a bank for some kind of loan."

"If you’re only making a profit of 2 percent and you have to take out a loan, it will take you some years to actually pay off the loss."

The WA Government questioned 37 pastoralists and 10 related businesses in Broome and Geraldton last month and found future profitability a major concern.

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