ASX-listed livestock ship owner and charterer Wellard has reported a profit for the second year in a row.

In the company’s financial results for the 2020-21 financial year, it recorded a profit (NPAT) of US$1.9 million, up from US$200,000 the previous year.

This increase was despite a 26% decrease in revenue to US$43.4 million in 2020-21.

The company said exporters chartering Wellard vessels to transport breeding cattle from Australia, New Zealand and South America to North Asia provided the bulk of the company’s revenue. This offset a reduction in the number of cattle being shipped from northern Australia to South East Asia.

Wellard executive chairman John Klepec said it was important to the company to prove that last year’s profit was not a one-off event.

“Previous changes to Wellard’s debt structure, operating cost base and business strategy have provided a more sustainable, resilient and profitable business,” he said.

“All three of our vessels have been chartered from the commencement of FY 2022, right through to mid-November and early December 2021, and with good inquiry beyond that timeframe, we are entering the new financial year with positive operational and financial momentum.”

Mr Klepec said as a result of this, the company is turning its attention to growth and renewal opportunities.

“It is critical that there is continued investment in the livestock fleet so that innovative, modern vessels with state-of-the-art technologies provide the best animal welfare outcomes for the livestock in our care,” he said.

The company said it has begun the process of identifying a replacement for MV Ocean Ute. As part of the process, Wellard commissioned an initial technical study into the most ideal vessel design and specifications.

The initial assessment concluded that the optimum pen area of a new-build vessel is a new sizing for the market.  – larger than the MV Ocean Swagman and smaller than the MV Ocean Drover. The company said the newbuild would likely be poered by alternative fuels or a combination of fuels and be capable of steaming at 17 knots.