Region in good heart at deal

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 28/06/2014

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South Canterbury is in for an economic boom if the reactions to this week's port announcements are a gauge.

On Thursday it was announced that Port of Tauranga, which operates the container terminal at Timaru's PrimePort, has made a 10-year deal with freight company Kotahi.

It will see container levels above the peak volumes of 2008, with Fonterra's Clandeboye plant returning to Timaru as its main port after using Lyttelton for five years.

Concrete company Holcim also announced this week it would begin construction of a 30,000 tonne import terminal, located in Timaru, in August.

The deal has also been described as changing the landscape of New Zealand's supply chain.

Brosnan Transport owner Greg Brosnan had a rum to celebrate the news.

He had anticipated the increased shipping business and six months ago built a 5000 square metre warehouse.

"I have taken on three new staff.

"It has paid off," he said.

Brosnan said it was the best news Timaru has had in years.

"There can be no negativity in an announcement like this."

Brosnan said the announcement was an opportunity for businesses in South Canterbury to expand on.

"It gives importers and exporters another avenue into and out of the world."

Brosnan underlined the importance it would have, not only to South Canterbury but also New Zealand.

He said the partnership would allow for larger ships to come to New Zealand.

Had there not been the capacity, it would have meant a hub located in Australia was needed.

That would have had knock-on effects, including lengthening the transit time by seven to 10 days.

"It makes sense to keep us in the world of shipping," Brosnan said.

Aoraki Development, Business and Tourism chief executive Wendy Smith said news volumes at the port were about to increase was wonderful.

"It is probably the best news week the port has ever had, with the Holcim announcement and now this," she said.

Smith was told when she moved to the region 20 years ago that Timaru was the ideal place for a major port in the South Island.

Factors included its centrality to the rest of the island, and close proximity to both the railway line and State Highway 1.

Deputy mayor Richard Lyon said the deal spoke volumes for all the parties concerned and would produce a favourable long-term outcome for South Canterbury.

"It's great," he said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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