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Canterbury Loses to Port Chaos

Canterbury Loses to Port Chaos

Canterbury manufacturers are increasingly concerned by the continuing inability of the Lyttelton Port Company and its unions to adopt modern work practices. “Canterbury is second only to Auckland as New Zealand’s largest manufacturing region.

But unlike Auckland, the local market is fairly small and so manufacturers must export,” explained Glenn Keen, President of the CMA. “Manufacturing contributes over 21% to our regional economy and the continuing failure to adopt an efficient and competitive 24/7 service at the container terminal will reduce the ability of manufacturers to compete internationally.”

The CMA understands that the likely outcome of the port losing the P&O contract would mean that P&O would, initially at least, absorb the road costs of transporting Canterbury products to other ports for exporting. While some elements of service would remain, the vital one of time would be lost. About 40% of our exports go to Australia, many on P&O ships, and if they have to be taken to another port for pick-up there would be considerable extra heavy road and rail traffic.

The Port Company and unions need to be reminded that if our exports become unable to compete substitute products from elsewhere will take their place. Because of the region’s reliance on the port any reduction or restriction in trade will reduce our ability to maintain or improve our way of life.

Glenn Keen concluded, “If Port Lyttelton doesn’t compete, the world and its shipping will pass us by.”

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