Fear S Canty will attract less business

South Canterbury will likely attract less business with changes to container services, an exporter says.

South East Resources (Serl) boss Murray Williamson runs a deep sea fishing fleet which exports around 1200 tonnes of fish a month out of Timaru.

His comments follow announcements by global container lines Maersk and Hamburg that they are withdrawing Timaru services.

The services will now operate direct to Napier from Otago, the change taking effect in mid-September.

Mr Williamson says the decision will cause grief for his business and for South Canterbury.

''The point for Timaru is how do you encourage business to come here if you haven't got import or export.''

His company fills around 75 refrigerated container a month for export.

That could be threatened, he says.

''Hopefully there is a sufficient facility to hold empty full containers before shipping.''

Delays would likely cause problems with storage and eat into costs, he says.

''The ships are getting bigger and the costs are getting greater.

''It's disappointing that container vessels don't continue but it's inevitable that there will be a reduction in the number of port calls.

''Somebody has to make sure there are other efficient means of getting cargo to ports.''

Mr Williamson said he didn't think PrimePort could have done any more to keep the container services in Timaru.

''We've just got to wait and see.

''We've been operating here in Timaru for a long time.

''The services are superb and it's a great place to do business.

''The disappointing aspect for Timaru is a negative to promote new business to come here; why come here if there is no container service for import of export.''

The Timaru Herald