6,600 NZ dairy cows en route to China aboard world’s largest livestock carrier

Around 6,600 dairy cows from New Zealand are currently en route to China aboard the world’s largest livestock carrier, the Ocean Drover.

The 176m long vessel collected the first half of its cargo at Timaru port in New Zealand’s southern island, before travelling north to Napier port to collect the remaining cows.

It was scheduled to depart New Zealand shores on Friday, July 31. The shipment is currently travelling across the Pacific Ocean; it is approximately half way through its journey to China.

The arrival date and time of the livestock carrier at a port in China are unknown, as the journey time will depend on both weather and sea conditions.

The Ocean Drover, which was built in 2002, is believed to be the world’s largest livestock carrier. It measures 176.1m in length and is 31.1m wide; the vessel tips the scales at just under 13,500t deadweight.

It is believed that these New Zealand cows will be transported to farms owned by dairy giant Fonterra.

NZ named as China’s ‘most important’ dairy partner

The news of the Ocean Drover’s departure to China coincided with New Zealand being described as China’s “most important” dairy partner at the China-NZ Dairy Forum.

The forum was co-hosted by Fonterra and it aims to promote the exchange of ideas between the two countries.

At the forum, the Chairman of the Dairy Association of China (DAC), Gao Hongbin, praised New Zealand while recognising the role international companies play in the domestic industry.

“New Zealand is China’s most important overseas dairy partner and this partnership will keep strengthening,” he said.

Sharing knowledge on effluent management systems, which is an important part of delivering sustainable dairy systems, was a key theme at this year’s forum, Fonterra added.