LYTTELTON Port of Christchurch last week welcomed what it said was Zim’s first call to the South Island of New Zealand.

The first vessel on the service, Contship Ono, arrived last Wednesday morning before departing to Napier that afternoon.

Lyttelton is one of five stops for the Third Loop New Zealand to Australia (N3A) route. Other stops include Auckland, Napier, Sydney and Melbourne.

LPC said the regular call at the South Island port would give Canterbury exporters a “streamlined” option for getting goods to global markets, via transhipment in Sydney.

LPC general manager container operations Simon Munt said as the Zim service will enhance LPC’s offering.

“Combined with our ongoing infrastructure investment, LPC continues to support freight growth in the region,” Mr Munt said.

LPC said the Zim service, arriving in Lyttelton every three weeks, would provide flexibility and reliability to Canterbury and the wider South Island market, especially as the effects of COVID-19 continue to impact global supply chains.

Shipping agent ISS McKay general manager David Mitchell said the company is happy to be in Lyttelton.

“Going forward, we are planning to make our visits more regular. I think a lot of people just think we are here for the short term gain, but we’re here to stay,” he said.

“We’re going great and if we had more vessels then we would put them into Lyttelton.”