Coastal shipping bulk trade returns

01:43, Jan 31 2009

Regular Timaru visitor the Anatoki represents a change in New Zealand shipping -- the return of the coastal bulk freighter.

The Anatoki provides a tramp service because it travels to where there is freight.

The ship is seen in smaller ports such as Timaru, Tauranga, Bluff, Nelson and Wanganui.

Since the service started in April the Anatoki has taken hay and silage from Prime Port to Taranaki and Waikato. It next visits Timaru tomorrow.

Coastal Bulk Shipping owns the Anatoki. Christchurch-based director Doug Smith said this type of shipping was nothing new, but it hadn't been seen in New Zealand for some time.

Timaru ship spotter Simon Brown said while only 50 metres long, the ship had an attractive, typical Japanese design.

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Typically the Nelson-based ship carries up to 550 tonne of farm commodities such as fertiliser, posts and feed. Mr Smith said it was likely to carry grain from Timaru as well.

"It's a few truckloads. When you work it out a bulk truck carries about 29 tonne."

He said the ship had great flexibility in what it could carry. It was 15-years-old and had previously transported steel around Japan.

"You can take it anywhere. Obviously if you are running into heavy weather you just throttle back and wait it out. Basically we are turning back and doing things that people did in New Zealand shipping a hundred years ago. There's nothing new in what we are doing it's just it stopped for a while."

The return of this "tramp" coastal trade coincides with a recent Government announcement of its intentions to double coastal freight within three decades.

At the moment about 15 per cent of national freight is carried by sea on established shipping routes.

Transport minister Annette King said predictions were for international ships to become larger and stop at fewer ports. The greater use of coastal vessels would reduce the extra pressure this placed on road and rail.

 

The Timaru Herald