Permits for second trimester cattle imports to Indonesia have been distributed to importers, allowing shipments for the May to August 2016 period to finally get underway.
Importers began receiving the official paperwork yesterday, almost two weeks after the Indonesian Ministers of Trade and Agriculture announced they had recommended the import of 250,000 cattle for the second trimester.
As regular Beef Central columnist Dr Ross Ainsworth explained on Monday, the release of official documentation was held up by bureaucratic problems, meaning exporters with ships ready to sail were once again forced to endure additional demurrage fees and cattle feeding charges that add further expense to the cost of landing cattle in Indonesia.
“This absurd situation literally costs the industry millions of dollars as expensive vessels are anchored in the harbour waiting for permission to load,” Dr Ainsworth, a former head of the Northern Territory Livestock Exporters’ Association, wrote.
“These additional costs are eventually passed onto the customer in one way or another so if the Indonesian government is interested in keeping prices low for its consumers it would be a good idea to fix this very, very simple problem.”
With no export activity to Indonesia for almost a month it has been difficult to ascertain a firm price for export steers from Darwin, but trusted Beef Central sources have put the figure at $2.85/kg last week and $2.90 this week, following the release of permits.
That also correlates with the figure of $2.50/kg paid in Townsville for feeder steers in a large Wellard consignment recently filled from that port.
250,000 is a solid number for the next four months but also coincides with the peak dry-season cattle turnoff period and a time of reduced slaughter cattle sale volumes in Indonesia, due to softer demand in the face of high beef prices.
One livestock export vessel loaded and left Darwin for Indonesia late last night under the new permits and two more are due to load in the next few days.
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