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Old 11-11-2011, 05:38 AM
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Kelly Kelly is offline
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Default Earlier live export ban cost Karumba $3 million

The month long live export ban earlier this year put a $3 million hole in the profits of South East Asian Livestock Services (SEALS), according to the company's managing director, John Kaus.

SEALS owns and operates Karumba Livestock Exports at the Karumba Port, where the bulk of Gulf cattle are prepared for export to Indonesia and other markets.

Speaking at the beef producers' forum at the inaugural Barra, Beef and Bulldust expo in Karumba on the weekend, told about 40 graziers, politicians and industry representatives they had exported just 5000 head this year, compared with 20,000 in 2010."

Mr Kaus blamed the Federal Government's moratorium on the export of live cattle to Indonesia, as well as a long wet season.

Sixty per cent of cattle exported by SEALS last year ended up on Indonesian plates.

As Karumba was cut off by road for several months earlier this year, stock was unable to be sent to the port for export.

SEALS laid off eight of its nine Karumba staff at the height of the ban, leaving only its manager in place.

Staff have now returned to the facility but the company has not been in a position to reemploy all eight staff.

SEALS isn't the only company hurting as a result of the ban.

Indigenous owned and run cattle station Delta Downs is also feeling the pinch.

Manager Paul Edwards said he was forced to lay off half off his staff when the ban came into effect in June.

"We usually have 30 staff on but we've had to cut that down to 15," he said.

"Their families have to miss out on Christmas now."

Mr Edwards said the ban "crippled" the company.

"All our infrastructure projects; the dams; we've had to put all that on hold again," he said.

"It's put us back in debt with the bank again."

He said at the time of the ban, the station was still hurting from the floods of 2009 which left large swathes of land underwater for two months.

"The '09 floods killed us," he said.

"We lost a lot of cows and lots of calves."

Mr Kaus said expectations of an early wet this year meant the tough times weren't over yet.

"I don't think we will be able to fully recover (the money lost due to the ban)," he said.

Stringent conditions placed on exporters by the Federal Government made conducting business difficult, he said.

"We've only got one supply chain at the moment and of course you're fighting with all the other exporters for that supply chain," he said.

Despite this, Mr Kaus said he was optimistic about the trade's future.

"I think (the trade) will get back to what it was," he said.

He said he believed the company could export similar numbers next year to its 2010 total of 20,000.

"Depending on the wet season and the availability of cattle we'd be hoping to get back to that," he said.

He said SEALS remained committed to South East Asian markets.

"We concentrate on our backyard," he said.

"We're very confident in Asia."
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