Bustling port sign of things to come?

Last updated 05:00 02/02/2013

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From a vessel carrying thousands of live animals to a billionaire's superyacht, big ships have arrived in all different kinds at the Timaru port this week.

Yesterday, 25,000 cubic metres of logs owned by Blakely Pacific and Laurie Forestry were loaded on the Nord Hong Kong, bound for China and South Korea.

On Thursday, the Dareen, carrying 7200 live dairy heifers, left Timaru port bound for China.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)'s large container ship, the JRS Brisbane, also left Timaru port for Tauranga yesterday after arriving on Thursday.

To top it off, Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen's $127 million superyacht, the Octopus, arrived in Timaru last night to surprised onlookers.

PrimePort chief executive Jeremy Boys said it was an unusually busy week for the port.

"Big ships tend to arrive all at once, but it's encouraging for the port to see that level of activity."

Mr Boys said MSC's container service with Timaru began in October last year.

"Activity has been on the upswing. We've budgeted for 25,000 20-foot equivalent container units for the financial year, and early signs are good," he said.

Blakely Pacific's South Island regional manager Andrew Cocking said there were large shipments of logs leaving Timaru port "about once every five weeks".

"It's been a very good couple of years. China is a growing market, while Korea remains very steady. The log prices are hitting two-to-three-year highs."

He said Timaru would ship between 230,000 to 250,000 cubic metres of logs from its port per year.

The shipment of 7200 live heifers from Timaru was the largest of its kind to leave New Zealand.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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