Lyttelton likely winner as container trade drops Timaru
"Restructuring and rationalising is a must in any industry. But here we have distortions caused by politicians "picking winners", and that is wrong and very dangerous. Sorry Timaru."Featured comment
BUSINESSDESK: Timaru has lost its container shipping services, leaving Lyttelton, Port Chalmers and Nelson offering containerised freight services as global shipping lines Maersk and Hamburg Sud pull the plug on the central South Island port.
Timaru was a major point of shipment, with Lyttelton, for containerised Fonterra products from the co-operative's two largest South Island facilities, at nearby Clandeboye and the Edendale plant in Southland, shared with Port of Lyttelton.
Relatively little of the Fonterra trade routes through Port Chalmers.
Maersk and Hamburg Sud were not offering comment last night, but the move is consistent with the gradual withdrawal of global shipping services from regional ports, forcing restructuring of New Zealand's port infrastructure on a few key hubs, of which Lyttelton is the South Island's clear winner.
The port is served by KiwiRail for high-volume dairy coal shipments from throughout the South Island, including the West Coast.
Port of Timaru chief executive Jeremy Boys was reported by Fairfax Media as confirming the loss of the two international container lines and the end of container services from the port.
"This is the only container service into Timaru and although the port is at the epicentre of the South Island's trade with perhaps the most direct logistics, it is difficult to see that the container business can continue or be put into a holding scenario without ships calling," he was reported as saying.
The port will continue to develop its breakbulk capability, is a hub for transport fuel distribution from the Marsden Point oil refinery and has a range of other coastal shipping and fisheries users.
Timaru already had lost about a third of its container volume because of Fonterra’s decision in 2009 to rail product from its Clandeboye plant in South Canterbury to Lyttelton as part of a rationalisation of the number of ports it used.