Mauro Balzarini, the former chief executive Wellard, Australia’s largest live export company, left the publicly listed firm in June, bringing an end to 40 years involvement by his family.
He has since moved to Queenstown and plans to re-enter the trade with a new livestock export business NextSeaWall.
Despite now living in NZ, Balzarini says the size of the NZ industry and a review of livestock exporting rules by the Government mean his new business will focus on Australia.
“The NZ export idea, while a nice one, is not the primary focus as it is not a big sourcing market,” he said.
“While I’d like to help grow the NZ export market we’re aware there is a commission looking into live exports and if it decides to ban them altogether it won’t impact the company as we have not factored a NZ business into any economic considerations.
“But over time we’ll be able to show the effectiveness of our new designs and maybe that will lead to some longer-term changes in perceptions.”
Key to Balzarini’s venture is developing new livestock carriers that are cleaner and have improved animal welfare and environmental performance.
The ships will carry 11,000 cattle and include improved design to enhance ventilation and reduce overcrowding.
“The new design ensures no animal will be in holds but all on exposed decks with natural light and air, then the ventilation system will be different and more effective plus there will be numerous other advancements compared to current technology.”
New monitoring systems will be incorporated but Balzarini says ships are only one part in the supply chain and his goal is to build a robust and sustainable live export trade.
His newly designed ships will be powered by LNG, which will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30%.
Most existing livestock carriers will soon be obsolete, which offered him an opportunity.
“We also need to show the public that we are investing in improving standards to make livestock trade more sustainable and in the best interests of Australian producers and exporters.”
NZ allows the export of stock for breeding but banned export for slaughter in 2007, a market Balzarini can see potential for NZ farmers.
“I believe it is worthwhile looking at exporting slaughter animals such as Angus and Hereford cattle because this will give producers the benefit of more competition with the meat works and increase farmgate returns.”