Australia is the largest exporter of quality livestock in the world, exporting around 900,000 cattle and 6 million sheep annually. Approximately one third of the cattle exported from Australia are through The Port of Darwin, making Darwin the busiest livestock port in the world today.
Darwin is ideally situated to supply the markets of Indonesia, the Philippines and the rest of SE Asia. Northern Australia is home to large numbers of tropically adapted cattle ideal for fattening in South East Asian feedlots. The trade is facilitated by the fact that Australia has a relatively disease free herd. These cattle are fed on the abundant supplies of agricultural bi-products available in these countries. In doing so, Australian cattle are able to be value added while at the same time enhancing domestic employment and economic opportunities.
During the 1980s and particularly the 1990s, significant markets were developed in Indonesia and the Philippines in particular, as sophisticated modern feedlots were developed. This growth was linked with rapid economic development in these economies, and was also a reflection of their Government desire to increase protein consumption.
Export of live cattle to Asian countries
Luxurious special vessel dedicated to transport live cattle departs from Darwin every week to major Asian ports. The sailing time from Darwin to major port in Indonesia takes as little as 6 days.
In order to minimize the stress, the cattle is handled with tender loving care through out the journey, starting from in land transportation, loading into vessel, during the sailing time and unloading at the final destination in their best condition.