Busy but manageable weekend for Port Otago

Port Otago is gearing up for a busier than usual weekend of shipping, with three cruise ships, a chip ship and two Maersk container vessels using wharf facilities, mainly at Port Chalmers. Oluf Maersk and Olivia Maersk, arriving respectively tomorrow and Sunday, would be in for slightly longer than usual, Port Otago chief executive Geoff Plunket said.

''There will be a bigger than usual exchange of containers, keeping them here a little longer than usual,'' he said when contacted.

Three cruise ships arrive on Saturday about 7am, Diamond Princess, Dawn Princess and Oceananic Discoverer, with the latter berthing in the upper harbour, as opposed to Port Chalmers.

Mr Plunket said while the port would be busy, it was manageable.

Separately, a worldwide glut of woodchips appears to be diminishing and a wood chip carrier, Crimson Jupiter, is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and begin loading chips at Port Chalmers, bound for Asia.

In mid-December, a seven-month stockpile of woodchips at Port Chalmers was picked up by Esprit Lotus in what may have been the country's first export to China.

The global woodchip market spent much of last year in a cyclical downturn, largely because Japan was holding a large stockpile, which prompted two separate piles of woodchips around Dunedin, totalling an estimated 31,000 tonnes.

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