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Port of Tauranga has shown its cards over its move to take a 50% shareholding in PrimePort Timaru, with the purchase of land at Rolleston to develop an intermodal freight hub.
Yesterday, Tauranga announced it had signed a conditional agreement with the Selwyn District Council to buy 15ha in the 180ha Izone Industrial Park, 12km south of Christchurch, to receive, pack and distribute containerised cargo.
In what was a surprise move, the company recently acquired its almost $22 million stake in PrimePort and operates its container terminal.
Establishing the Rolleston hub would provide South Island exporters the option to efficiently access Timaru and similarly, importers in the Christchurch area would have the option to ship through Timaru, Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said.
The Izone Industrial Park, which has been established to cater for manufacturing, warehousing and logistics businesses, is owned by the Selwyn District Council and managed by Hughes Developments Ltd.
Selwyn Mayor Kelvin Coe welcomed the announcement, saying it was likely to make Izone an ''even more attractive'' option for businesses looking to set up in Canterbury, expand, or find a site for new premises following the earthquakes.
The proposed purchase had the potential to bring a lot more businesses and jobs to the region and to the Selwyn district in particular, he said.
Hughes Developments director Robin Hughes said Izone had easy access to both Lyttelton and PrimePort.
The proposal would give exporters and importers an important additional port option for their businesses.