Former Wellard boss looks to future with revolutionary livestock carriers

Former Wellard ceo Mauro Balzarini will launch a new venture focused on developing cleaner, smarter livestock carriers that will significantly improve animal welfare and environmental performance.

Mr Balzarini ceased employment as ceo of Wellard in June, ending 40 years of involvement with the company by his family, who built the livestock exporter from scratch to a $600m valuation at the peak of its operations.

Now, having relocated to Queenstown in New Zealand and following an out of court settlement with Wellard, Mr Balzarini plans to do it all again with the launch of NextSeaWell, a venture which plans to develop a new generation of LNG-powered ships to revolutionise the livestock trade.

The newly designed vessels will be fully digitalised to provide improvements to animal welfare, better environmental performance and ensure optimum operation for better commercial outcomes.

The new ships will run on LNG, providing approximately a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and almost totally eliminating harmful pollutants including sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides.

Mr Balzarini says innovation was essential for improving performance in the shipping industry because many ships currently operating would become obsolete in the near future.

“Ships that I designed and built many years ago are still considered the best in the world only due to the fact they were very innovative during their initial designs,” Mr Balzarini says.

“However, considering the average age of vessels in the water is around 20 years, there is a need to design even more innovative ships to combat changing emission regulations.

“We also need to show the public that we are invested in improving standards to make livestock trade more sustainable and in the best interests of Australian producers and exporters.”

The ships will have a capacity of around 11,000 head of cattle and the modern livestock service systems will maintain lower deck temperatures to reduce heat stress on animals. Mr Balzarini sees significant opportunity for live exports from both Australia and New Zealand to service growing Asian markets.

Coupled with the digitalisation and LNG fuel, hull design and weight reduction will ensure even better environmental performance and reduced operating costs.

An intensive design phase is underway and will be followed by a testing and validation phase to ensure all elements meet intended performance requirements.