Farmers'machinery imports to be hit

GERALD PIDDOCK
Last updated 09:39 12/07/2012

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The loss of container trade at the Port of Timaru will make it more costly to import farm machinery into the province, South Canterbury Federated Farmers president Ivon Hurst said.

He said it cost about $4000 to ship a container from Europe to a New Zealand port. Once it arrived, it would cost an additional $850-$1000 to transport it to its destination.

"This equates to a maximum of 20 per cent more of what you would have if the container was just shipped to Timaru and shipped from there," Mr Hurst said.

The advantage of being able to land a container-load of machinery on the Timaru wharf was that there were no delays.

"Once it's there, you can deal with it directly," he said.

He said it was not unusual for farmers to purchase farm machinery overseas online and bypass local dealerships.

Farmers were prepared to go to the trouble of sourcing the machinery second-hand from overseas, particularly for items such as headers, which brand new could cost up to $750,000.

PrimePort Timaru announced late on Tuesday that global container lines Maersk and Hamburg Sud will withdraw their Timaru service.

Mr Hurst said that when machinery had to be shipped through Auckland and then on to Lyttelton, the importer started taking on extra costs.

He was told by a local importer of headers, which are used by arable farmers for harvesting, that in the past they were able to order a good header from Europe, ship it to New Zealand and have it unloaded in Timaru in time for the next harvest.

"These days that's problematic because of delays anywhere down the chain," he said.

He said it would also affect farm machinery dealers that used the port.

However, two of South Canterbury's tractor and farm machinery businesses said they would be unaffected by the change.

Class Harvest Centre managing director Greg Carr said the decision would have little impact on them because all of their imported machinery was brought in at Lyttelton.

Johnson and Gluyas manager Chris Johnson said they would also be unaffected because they also used other ports.

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- The Timaru Herald

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