Lyttelton Port [NZX: LPC] of Christchurch has disclosed a $1 billion development plan as rival Port of Tauranga signs one of the country's biggest logistics groups up to its terminal in Timaru.
Lyttelton wants to reclaim land to the east for a new container terminal. The public will have better access to the western side of the port where a new marina, a commercial development that compliments the Lyttelton township and seating is planned.
The reclamation into Te Awaparahi Bay could be as large as 35 hectares.
The majority council-owned port wants the ability to handle larger ships and it is also rebuilding after the Christchurch earthquakes.
"We simply don't have enough room and the only logical solution is moving east," chief executive Peter Davie said.
He had no initial comment on a deal announced today between Maersk, Port of Tauranga and logistics company Kotahi which puts significant amounts of freight through Timaru. Kotahi is led by Fonterra Cooperative Group and meat company Silver Fern Farms.
Last week Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said he is using the powers of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 to allow for timelier redevelopment of the badly damaged Lyttelton Port.
He directed Environment Canterbury and Lyttelton Port Company to prepare a Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan.
"There have been no decisions made on how the port should be redeveloped, but I have determined that a Recovery Plan is the best tool for timely redevelopment to be achieved," Brownlee said. "A Recovery Plan allows for a streamlined process and will see redevelopment occur in a timelier manner than under the Resource Management Act."
The port has reached 5.5 hectares on its existing reclamation project and has consent for 10ha being filled with earthquake rubble in the next two years, and may need a further 20ha.
The port has been handling increasing container volumes since the earthquake, particularly as dairy exports from the Canterbury region rise.
The shares last traded at $3.15, having gained 4.7 percent this year.