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1st Ship Into Westport Post Buller Bar Improvement

Media Release

7 June 2005

FIRST SHIP INTO WESTPORT FOLLOWING IMPROVED BULLER BAR CONDITIONS

Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd ship MV Westport entered Westport Harbour on Sunday, signalling a significant improvement in Buller Bar conditions, and the first time Holcim ships had been able to enter the harbour for 46 days.

Huge swells pounding the bar during last week’s storms and an increased flow in the Buller River have resulted in bar depths increasing to 2.5 metres, from a low of one metre. Flows in the Buller River are still not strong, however they are significantly above the very low flows recorded over the last six weeks.

Even though the bar had cleared by last Tuesday (31 May), heavy swells prevented ships entering the harbour until Sunday.

The long period without port access has resulted in a massive contingency operation for Holcim New Zealand. Cement was transported by road and subsequently shipped from other ports , while the rate of supply of cement imported from Holcim’s sister company in Indonesia, was increased to ensure cement supplies were maintained to a busy New Zealand construction
market.

“We are pleased that the contingency operations we have put in place have managed to avoid running the industry out of cement over the last 46 days,” said Holcim Cement General Manager, Jeremy Smith. “It was a great for staff to hear that the MV Westport had been able to sail over the Buller Bar on Sunday evening with 1900 tonnes of cement on board. We plan to have two further ships in later this week, however contingency measures will remain in place until we are sure that bar conditions have stabilised.

“Even though we would normally expect short periods over the winter when bar conditions impact on our operations, being unable to get our ships in and out of Westport Harbour for 46 days is highly unusual.

“We have appreciated the efforts of Buller District Council, who have taken a proactive approach to the issue and have worked with us to try to identify feasible solutions to the bar situation. Ultimately though, we are battling against nature.”

Dredging is under way to improve bar depths, and rain and snow falls in the hills over the last few days are encouraging for future Buller River flows.

ENDS

Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd is a leading New Zealand supplier of cement,
aggregates, ready mixed concrete and lime. Its involvement in the New
Zealand building industry dates back to 1888, and today it employs more
than 600 people. It is part of the Holcim Group, one of the world’s largest
cement companies represented in over 70 countries and on all continents.

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