LIVESTOCK shipping company Wellard’s financial results for the 2023 financial year make for some grim reading.

The company reported a net loss for that year of US$15.5 million – this was a decrease of 256% on last year’s profit of US$9.9 million.

It reported a gross loss of US$275,000 – a decrease of 102% on last year. The company’s EBITDA was negative US$4.4 million – down 120% on last year. Its revenue fell by 14.2% to US$38.7 million.

In its statement to the ASX, the company said the net loss comes after three consecutive profitable financial years. It said the “disappointing” financial result was due to several factors, “the most significant being a poor macro-trading environment and a US$3.4 million mismatch in timing between repair costs and insurance claims with respect to the MV Ocean Swagman engine repairs”.

Wellard executive chairman John Klepec said the company “commences FY2024 with a more promising charter book and growth outlook than in either FY2022 or FY2023, principally due to the pick-up in activity in the South America to Türkiye cattle trade and falling fuel prices”.

“However, we are waiting for further demand to crystalise into Q2 to add greater certainty to our forward order book of charters.”

The company said a major challenge in this past financial year was “depressed live cattle exports from Australia”.

“Disappointing performance out of Australia was exacerbated by the continuing trend of smaller consignments demanded by Indonesia importers,” the company said.

“Illustrative of this trend was that 10 voyages departed the Port of Darwin in June 2023, with an average consignment size of jut 1488 head.”

Mr Klepec said the average sized consignment would take up less than one deck on Wellard’s MV Ocean Drover with another eight decks to spare.