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Farmers get into the Port business

2 July 2014

Farmers get into the Port business

Three years after welcoming the formation of Kotahi, the joint freight logistics of Fonterra Cooperative Group and Silver Fern Farms, Federated Farmers South Canterbury is excited that the Port of Timaru will play a leading role in exporting South Island product to the world.

“Since Kotahi translates as standing together as one Federated Farmers is excited about what this means for South Canterbury’s development as a major South Island’s logistics hub,” says Ivon Hurst, Federated Farmers South Canterbury provincial president.

“News that Kotahi is to hub out of Timaru is great. News that Kotahi has taken a half-share in the Port of Tauranga owned container terminal operating assets at PrimePort is fantastic.

“Here are two farmer-owned cooperatives, not only pooling their freight logistics, but actually investing in physical port infrastructure. This deal means a resumption of container freight from 1 August into Timaru off the back of a substantial container volume commitment.

“We are talking 80,000 containers up from the current 20,000 going through PrimePort.

“This locks in PrimePorts’ potential to be to the South Island what Tauranga is to the North. As Kotahi is now a partner of the Port of Tauranga in Timaru’s container terminal, we have an amazing opportunity to develop South Canterbury into a major logistics hub.

“Last August, Timaru Container Terminal Limited at PrimePort became an independent international operating facility with the signing of the Customs Controlled Area licence.

“That development, in concert with the Port of Tauranga developing an “inland port” near to Christchurch at Rolleston, makes Timaru central to export freight within the Island.

“Timaru is within easy reach of the South Island’s largest meat and milk processing plants. With excellent rail access Timaru offers exporters maximum freight efficiency with the lowest carbon footprint.

“For Canterbury’s exporters it means avoiding all of our shipping eggs being in Port Lyttelton’s basket. We always knew PrimePort was a jewel but now it is sparkling bright.

“Timaru’s wider growth prospects are looking up given the strength of the primary industries here makes us a sound location to be an export hub. With a deep water container services port on our doorstep we can easily see value-added production coming here as well.

“We can peg this as another positive outcome of the Opuha Water Storage Scheme since it has drought proofed swathes of our province and underpinned primary growth.

“It’s good for jobs and it is going to be very good for the South Island’s exporters,” Mr Hurst concluded.

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