PORT Taranaki said it would continue to provide facilities and services to exporters of live cattle during the trade’s phase out period.

Last week, New Zealand agriculture minister Damien O’Connor said the country would phase out live animal exports by sea over the next two years.

He said the country has very limited ability to ensure animals’ wellbeing once they leave Kiwi shores.

Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper said the port recognises and respects the decision made by the government on the matter.

“The Port Taranaki board of directors and executive have discussed the latest developments and have made the decision to continue supporting our livestock export customers as the trade transitions towards a ban by 2023,” he said.

“As we have stated in the past, Port Taranaki is not an exporter, we provide a facility for exporters, and we remain committed to providing a facility for customers who have a lawful right to exchange trade – the export of livestock remains one such trade.”

Mr Roper said that as Port Taranaki was owned by the community through the Taranaki Regional Council, it was the company’s role to maximise the use of its assets so that it remained profitable and sustainable in the long term.

“Although revenue figures are commercially sensitive as customers have a choice of which port is best to support producers and cargo owners, the livestock trade has provided a profitable source of revenue,” Mr Roper said.

“We are constantly seeking new opportunities as we work to be profitable for the entire region. And, as the government foreshadows change with transitional periods, we are responding accordingly.”

Mr Roper said the move to green energy and possible future green energy export provides opportunities now and into the future.

“For example, in the past 18 months, we have provided logistics support in the development of two wind farms in New Zealand, and we are currently supporting the decommissioning of the Tui oil field, which is a two to three-year project,” Mr Roper said.

“We look to further government support for our region in the energy transition as was committed in 2018-19.

“We also look forward to the safe return of the cruise industry and building on previous cruise liner visits to the region. We believe international tourists will see New Zealand and Taranaki as a fantastic destination to visit and we are keen to welcome them back when it is deemed safe.”