Lucrative port deal fine-tuned

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 02/07/2014
timaru kotahi primeport chris greenough
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ
FORWARD THINKING: Kotahi chief executive Chris Greenough visited Timaru to work on the finer details of a deal made last week which will lead to increased volumes of containers going through PrimePort.

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Kotahi boss Chris Greenough was in Timaru yesterday to oversee the nuts and bolts of a deal that will more than double the present container traffic through the town's port.

Kotahi is a freight and logistics company owned by Fonterra and Silver Fern Farms.

The Timaru container-terminal owners, Port of Tauranga and Kotahi, announced last week a 10-year deal which is expected to increase the volume of containers coming through the port to above 2008's peak levels.

Greenough said his company would be bringing in at least 30,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent units) containers within the next year and he expected the number to grow well above that.

At present, only 20,000 TEU come through the Port of Timaru in a year.

Meanwhile Greenough believed other companies would be attracted to use the port. "If we can build it, it will be available for everybody.

"It leads into a ‘New Zealand Inc' way of thinking," he said.

Greenough was looking forward to working in South Canterbury.

He believed, regardless of the deal with the Port of Tauranga, Kotahi would have moved into the local market.

"There has been massive growth in South Canterbury over the past five years.

"We cannot see any challenges for South Canterbury or we would not have come here. Everything is looking rosy for the region."

Greenough said the deal was part of a plan to ensure New Zealand could be a competitive player on the world stage.

"We always knew we had to ensure it was sustainable.

"New Zealand is a challenge in terms of shipping as it is very, very fragmented in terms of time, location geographically in New Zealand and in the world," he said.

Greenough said New Zealand was a country which exported a lot more than it imported, requiring a lot of empty containers to be shipped here.

"We are shipping a lot of air."

The supply chain in New Zealand needed some serious rehashing to remain a viable competitive option in the shipping market.

"Most of our exports leave from Auckland but most of them are created south of the Bombay Hills," he said.

That meant New Zealand ports needed to rethink their place in the chain, but all ports had a place and could work together for the betterment of the New Zealand export industry.

"For some, it is no longer viable for them to be deep-sea ports but [they] should be regional feeder ports."

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- The Timaru Herald

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