LIVE export is set to resume from Karumba in early January, with two vessels scheduled to pick up cattle from the port.
They will be the first live export boats to load cattle at Karumba Port in six months due to ongoing debate surrounding dredging the channel.
South East Asian Livestock Services principal John Kaus said they hoped to bring the boat in twice on the highest tides of the month in early and late January.
About 1950 head of cattle, all sourced from the North Queensland and Gulf region would be loaded on each boat, bound for Indonesia.
Mr Kaus said the boat they had commissioned had been in Karumba Port 26 times without any hassles and was confident the two shipments would go ahead.
“We went and had a look at the channel to really identify the real problems and it’s not as big as it looks,” Mr Kaus said.
“It’s not the whole channel, there’s only a couple of areas or bends that are creating a problem.”
The export plan comes after a meeting was held in Karumba in mid-December with port users and stakeholders who raised their concerns about underutilisation of the port with Traeger MP Robbie Katter.
Karumba Live Export manager Dean Bradford said the last live export boat to leave Karumba was in July, making it the longest period he had experienced without a live export vessel docking barring the live export ban.
Mr Bradford said resuming live export had benefits for the whole town.
"It's quite good for the town when the ships are in, they get buy all their stores and produce from locals in town and all that sort of thing,” he said.
He said there was no argument that the channel needed dredging and frustrations were building.
“Everyone has got their own idea, but we basically just need someone to pull the trigger and say this is the way we’ve got to do it, and get on with it,” Mr Bradford said.
Mr Kaus said foreign investors were showing interest in Karumba and the future would be bright with government support.
He said he believed the State Government should apply for funding through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund to dredge the channel and improve facilities.
“It’s disappointing. We want to develop the North and here’s the opportunities, we’re missing out on millions and the opportunities for the producers, the bsuinesses, the road transport… nothing has been done.”
Carpenteria Shire Council Mayor Jack Bawden said Karumba’s port could still be viable without continuous and costly dredging.
“It’s a shallow port and always will be. It can still be a viable port, it’s just going to have to be trans-shipping,” Cr Bawden said.
A Ports North spokeswoman said Ports North was seeking new opportunities for Karumba Port.
“Ports North is continuing to work on developing new bulk trade opportunities through Karumba and are engaging with a range of agricultural and mineral commodity industries as potential future Karumba exports including the new owners of Century Mine.”