A ship carrying up to 14,000 cattle will leave Napier for China on Sunday, the single largest export of cattle from Hawke's Bay.
The Al Kuwait is a purpose-built live export ship and arrived in port overnight Thursday.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has approved an application for Al Kuwait to export the beasts.
However, the final number of cattle may change after veterinarians have inspected them before loading.
It is expected to take four days to load the cattle onto the Al Kuwait.
Hawke's Bay woman Caz Petterson, who has organised protests against live animal export, said there would be no official protest from animal rights groups at the port.
"Those who would typically attend are headed to an animal rights march in Wellington this Sunday," she said.
Al Kuwait is the 11th livestock vessel to dock at the Napier port since the tragic sinking of Gulf Livestock 1 last year, when two New Zealanders lost their lives.
Safe CEO Debra Ashton said it was "incredibly disappointing" that live export ships were allowed to continue operating in Hawke's Bay.
After the sinking of Gulf Livestock 1, the Government said the exports would cease following a transition period of up to two years.
"We're seriously concerned that the industry will continue as if nothing has changed, and we'll see a ramping up of live animal exports over the next 15 months, rather than a winding down."
Petterson said the delay was "not good enough".
"I can't see any explainable reason why they need two years to stop it."
MPI animal health and welfare director Dr Chris Rodwell said exports will continue until April 2023, depending on demand and supply.
"All shipments are subject to fully meeting MPI's animal health and welfare standards."
Hawke's Bay Federation Farmers president Jim Galloway said exporting is never the first option for New Zealand farmers.
Cattle sent overseas are often surplus dairy cows and in this case, will have come from as far north as Waikato and as far south as Wellington, Galloway said.
Before being loaded onto the vessel the cattle would have spent "several weeks in Hawke's Bay to adjust to the food they will eat on their journey", he said.
Galloway has heard from vets that often accompany the cattle overseas that they "are treated exceptionally well, gain weight and eat well".
A spokesperson for Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said he was unavailable for comment as he was overseas.
The Al Kuwait is the world's largest livestock carrier, at 189.5 metres long. It was built as the Ocean Shearer for Wellard and renamed Al Kuwait after being sold early last year to Kuwait Livestock Transport and Trading.
In May last year it was the centre of a Covid scare when it docked at Fremantle with 21 of its 48 multinational crew subsequently testing positive for the virus.
It was bound-up for three weeks until all crew had been cleared.