Monday 20th Nov, 2017

Kiwi port gives up on container trade

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

PORT Taranaki is withdrawing from the container sector and closing down its container transfer site in the New Zealand town of New Plymouth.

The Port’s chief executive Guy Roper cited changes in New Zealand’s supply chain as the reason behind the decision.

He said there was now reduced incentive for shipping lines to call at the Port with coastal shipping having been impacted by changes such as the introduction of larger international container vessels, the development of inland ports for the containerisation of products, and the increased use of rail transport linking regions to ports with international departures.

“We have not had a full container service at Port Taranaki for three years – the last containership to call was in October 2014,” Mr Roper said.

“Since then, we have worked hard with potential customers and shipping lines to make it viable to call at the port. However, container services rely on scale and throughput, and with the changes to the national supply chain, we have been unable to secure sufficient trade to attract shipping lines,” he said.

“As a result, we will no longer seek to recommence a container shipping service.”

With this decision comes the closure of the Port’s container transfer site, which had been run through an arrangement with shipping lines, making containers available to local importers and exporters. The site is expected to close at the end of January.

Also, Port Taranaki has closed its cold store on Blyde Wharf, which stored chilled and frozen products for the dairy and poultry industries.

The decision to withdraw from the container business was made following a strategic review of the container sector by the Port Taranaki Board.

Board chairman Peter Dryden said the changes occurring within the New Zealand supply chain and the need to operate a sustainable and successful business for the benefit of the Taranaki community, had brought about the review and subsequent decision.

“After examining our position in the container sector and what we believe are permanent changes to the New Zealand supply chain, investing in future capability to be competitive, such as machinery and systems, was not viable,” Mr Dryden said.

“Port Taranaki will now focus on growth in other areas of the business, such as our burgeoning log business, as well as concentrating on our core business of bulk liquids, bulk dry products and support of the offshore oil and gas sector,” he said.

Mr Dryden said the port would retain its mobile harbour cranes in support of other work, including Port Taranaki’s offshore business.

“We will be working with local logistics providers to ensure continuity for Taranaki importers and exporters,” he said.

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