ABOUT 1900 head of cattle are bound for Indonesia on the first live export vessel to leave Karumba in almost 12 months.
The Brahman shipment, which was mainly sourced from Vanrook Station in the Gulf, were loaded on to the MV Finola early on Saturday for their nine-day voyage to an Indonesian feedlot.
It is the first live export boat to leave Karumba in 11 months after New Century Mine struck a deal with Ports North to dredge the Karumba channel.
Karumba Live Export manager, Dean Bradford, said he hoped this shipment would be the first of many, and said ideally, he would like to see three boats a month loading from the port.
“This boat we’re doing now will be the first boat we’ve done in 11 months,” Mr Bradford said.
“It’s good, we’ve had one station put their hand up for us to supply all the cattle, and we’ve also been able to, at the local show, obtain cattle from there as well.
“We’ve got a real good line up of cattle and the selector will be very impressed with the lineup of cattle we’ve got.
“There’s nearly 1900 head of straight Brahman, the station that supplied them you can’t get any better. We’ve got show cattle which are premium, steers and heifers.
“We’re hoping for two every month, then at the start of next season we’d like to go three straight up, because the cattle are there.”
Mr Bradford said he hoped the facility would return to full strength in the next year, with three boats coming in a month from May until the wet season prevents trucks from coming in.
He said before dredging ceased they were putting through about 36,000 head of cattle per season.
In their best year in 2014, they had 14-15 boats arrive, which would carry about 2000 head per voyage.
“We’ll be pushing to get back to the full routine,” Mr Bradford said.
The Karumba port channel was developed to facilitate Century Mine operations in 1999 and they funded annual maintenance dredging until suspending operations in late 2015.
The state government stumped up $1.7 million for dredging in 2016, but there was no ongoing maintenance plan until now.
New Century Resources has committed to a $6.8 million dredging plan to create a channel depth of 3.2 metres, ahead of their operations resuming in August. The program will continue for 6.5 years.