Timaru a winner in new trade
PrimePort Timaru will become the new South Island terminal for Holcim's imported bulk cement.
Holcim New Zealand has confirmed plans to build two 30,000-tonne import terminals - at the Port of Timaru and at the Ports of Auckland.
Holcim capital projects manager Ken Cowie said choosing Timaru provided effective access to the major market of Christchurch and to the rest of the South Island.
"The Timaru terminal utilises the new $5 million new silo capacity at Lyttleton and is part of the next stage of Holcim's $100m investment programme," he said.
PrimePort's chief executive, Jeremy Boys, said Holcim would install new storage for cement using the latest technology with modern ship loading and unloading facilities.
"These systems are fully enclosed," he said.
"The preferred design is a dome structure for storage that will take the place of the old grain silos at the port. The port will upgrade a wharf and carry out dredging for the import ships that will become regular callers," he said.
"The other side of the wharf will be used to load and distribute cement to other ports on a coastal vessel such as the Milburn Carrier II."
Mr Boys said PrimePort had developed a strong relationship with Holcim over many years.
"I am very pleased this is now a partnership that will build a long future together," he said.
"Our first step is to finalise plans and the design. In the new year, we will be working with Holcim to seek proposals from contractors."
Subject to confirming final details with the two ports, construction was expected to start in mid-2014.
Mr Boys said it was an exciting time for PrimePort.
"This is a positive addition to the Port of Tauranga alliance that was announced several months ago and adds further strength to South Canterbury," he said.
"It also recognises our strategic position in the South Island. We look forward to working with Holcim on this exciting new venture," Mr Boys said.
Bringing both the new terminals on stream would also mean the closure of the company's Westport cement plant.
Mr Cowie said Holcim announced in August that imported cement would replace local production at the Westport cement plant.
Plans to construct a new cement plant at Weston near Oamaru remain in limbo.
- The Timaru Herald