Calf export ship still waiting on green light
THE approval of a suitable ship to carry calf transport trucks to the Continent is still awaiting approval.
Department officials inspected a possible replacement vessel for the Stena Horizon last week but it is understood that difficulties with both ventilation and the stability of the ship were identified.
All sides have been working hard on the matter of a replacement vessel with expectations that a suitable replacement ship will be in place.
There have been fears expressed by exporters and the farm organisations that the loss of the Stena Horizon could cause huge disruption to the crucial calf-export trade.
The lively start to the calf trade in the marts continued this week with farmers rather than shippers to the fore at ringside.
Friesian bull prices ranged from €90/hd to €190/hd, with the shippers paying up to €120-130/hd for good lots but buying plainer calves for €75-100/hd.
Stena said they have not yet been able to meet the criteria for the highly specialised trade but are “working hard to find a suitable solution”.
It was also felt that the ship was possibly too small to handle the number of livestock trucks that would be using the route at the height of the calf export season in February and March. It has been suggested that Stena has identified a suitable vessel but that it is currently committed to an existing route.