THE FROZEN MEAT TRADE.
In a recent artiole upon our exports of frozen meat and of dairy produce we gave some interesting particulars relating to the former gathered from a circular, m review of the history of the trade, which has been circulated by Messrs W. Waddel and Co., colonial commission agents, of 16 St. Helen's Place, London, and copies of which hare reached some of our Southern contemporaries. One of these, the " Southland Times,'' makes copious extracts, from which we gather a number of additional facts and statistics which are of great interest. Comparing the relative position of New Zealand and Australia m relation to the trade, \\, is pointed out, as a noteworthy circumsUßse, that although New 2e»l»ud
ntered upon the trade two years later than did Australia, " this colony has furnished the London market with 3,395,886 carcases as against 618,445 from all Australia, and 1,088,167 from River Plate. The latter country has a complete monopoly of the Liverpool market, to which m three yeurs it has sent 1,178,417 frozen sheep. Our colony, therefore, beat the largest producer by over a million, carcases." it is very satisfactory to learn that " the j great bulk of these imports came to hand m good condition, as, of 445 shipments received m London only 31 were damaged. The proportion of unsound cargoes per annum has fallen from 10 per cent m 1883 to 4 per cent last year, and the insurance premium against ' all risks ' has m consequence fallen from £6 6s per cent to £i per cent." The charges generally have also fallen, having been " gradually reduced from 4d per lb m 1883 to about 2£d per lb, the total cost now involved m freezing and consigning for sale to this (the London) market, so that the present price of 3^d per lb is nearly as remunerative to shippers as when m 1883 to 1885 as much as s£d to 6d per lb was obtainable. Befrigerating charges, freight, insurance, storage, cartage, railway carriage, and consignees' commissions, have all been reduced. The only charge which has not yet suffered any diminution is salemen's brokerage, which has remained at 2 per cent. Unsuccessful endeavours have repeatedly been made to secure a reduction m that item, but the manner of distribution of supplies has weakened the hands of consignees m dealing with this and other matters affecting the handling of the meat." Though the reduction m charges above referred to is, so far as it goes, satisfactory, as to that extent improving the return obtained by shippers, it is plain that more than this is required if the trade is to be put on the footing which it ought to occupy. For we are told that " values of New Zealand mutton have been depreciated beyond the merit of the case by reason of the lack of combined action amongst importers m dealing with the trade as a whole. While larger and more important trades m ' colonial products are regulated by duly appointed committees, the sale of frozen meats is left to the unregulated action of individual importers who comprise m. their ranks (1) thoße who act as consignees only; (2) those who act as salesmen and consignees ; and (3) those who act as merchants, salesmen and consignees. Colonial wool is practically gent Home to ' consignees only/ hence the facility with which arrangements can be made for its satisfactory disposal. Frozen meat is not sent Home to consignees only, and cannot therefore be dealt with m the manner most calculated to promote the best interests of colonial shippers as a whole. There is no real gain to anyone though an individual shipper may secure through a certain channel a fractionally better out-turn than his neighbor, if by his action the general market value is depreciated. Over-distribution and the handling of consignments by those who act m dual or several capacities must inevitably result m a general reduction m values. Except for the influence of such factors there is no sufficient reason why New Zealand mutton should so frequently realise only a little more than half as much as English and Scotch mutton." What appears to us to be required is organised effort on the part of those interested m the export to secure an ' agency at Home which may be depended upon to do the very best for the interests of shippers, and to dispose of the meat to the best advantage, and it is- to bo hoped that the big Company now projected m London may afford the solution of this problem. Following are a few statistics of the trade which are worth noting : — " There are 10 sailing vessels and 16 steamers engaged m carrying New Zealand frozen meat, with a capacity per annum of 1,220,000 carcases, so that there is, on the basis of last year's shipments, still space for over 250,000 carcases m the present fleet. The storage accommodation m London and Liverpool is now equal to the preservation of about 400,000 carcases, and throughout the provinces several small stores with a capacity of 100,000 carcases have been erected, notably at Birmipgham, Mapchester and Glasgow. Stocks held m London have varied greatly from month to month. The extent and direct influence on the prices of New Zealand mutton arc shown m the following comparative statement : — 1885 : average month's stock, 55,000 carcases ; average quotation for New Zealand mutton, s£d ; 1886 j 91,000 j average, 5d ; 1887 ; 128,000 ; average, 4^d ; 1888 ; 112,000 ; average, 4£d. In order to appreciate the bearing of the frozen meat trade upon the general meat trade, it is necessary to point out that the total import of live and dead meat forms an important percentage (probably 10 per cent to If) per cent) of the total quantity of meat consumed. Of that total import, frozen meat now represents some 20 per cent, about one-half of which is of New Zealand origin. Roughly speaking, the total import of New Zealand mutton may be reckoned as considerably less than 2 per cent of the total consumption ot beef and mutton m the United Kingdom." In summing up their very interesting review Messrs Waddel say : — " The year closes with trade m a most depresßed state, and the stock of frozen mutton undesirably heavy. The import of Australasian mutton into London for the last quarter of 1888 amounted to 283,808 carcases as against 186.913 parcases m 1887. The position of the market during November and December must have proved discouraging to many New Zealand shippers who hoped that the advance established m the summer months whs likely to be maintained, The pripo of moat throughout the country as an almost invariable rule falls off towards the end pf the year because supplies are then most plentiful, and tho year 1888 has formed no exception to that rule. It is hoped that with the turn of tho year prices will improve, while the recent reduction m freights and London chargcß for storage will be of material assistance m securing for shippers a better net result for their consignments."
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THE FROZEN MEAT TRADE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2069, 21 February 1889
THE FROZEN MEAT TRADE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2069, 21 February 1889
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