Lyttelton meeting the competition

Greg Easton
Greg Easton
Lyttelton Port of Christchurch was meeting the competition generated by Port of Tauranga by developing a second inland port at Rolleston, Craigs Investment Partners broker Greg Easton said yesterday.

LPC announced yesterday it had bought a 27ha site in Rolleston, close to the main south rail line connecting City Depot, the company's established inland port in Woolston, and the Lyttelton Container Terminal.

The new inland port would act as a hub for receiving, storing and consolidating containers and as a distribution point where containers were transferred between trucks.

Port of Tauranga, which has a 50% share in PrimePort Timaru, earlier established an inland port at Rolleston.

''When the Port of Tauranga does anything in this industry, the rest take note. LPC and Tauranga are positioning themselves for higher container volumes and increasing dairy commodities,'' Mr Easton said.

''Port of Tauranga coming south has given the South Island ports a wake-up call.''

Port of Tauranga was No 1 on industry leadership, he said. With only so much cargo to go around, and it being carried on larger ships, port companies such as LPC needed to develop bases to store containers and reroute commodities.

Asked if the competition between the Tauranga and Lyttelton port companies would have an effect on Port of Otago, Mr Easton said there was cargo which had to go through Port Chalmers rather than going further north. There was no point sending logs or dairy commodities from Otago north to Lyttelton by road or rail.

In that respect, Port of Otago was in competition with Bluff's South Port. The competition was becoming more heated between the companies operating in Canterbury.

''In this instance, the two northern ports are investing for the long term, 20 to 30 years, not the next two or three.''

However, there could be some nervousness around the Port of Otago board table about competition at the edges of the business, he said.

LPC chief executive Peter Davie said the development of the company's second inland port would have several benefits for Canterbury.

''LPC has been through a challenging period while working through an earthquake settlement process with our insurer but now this has been finalised, we can move forward with confidence on a number of projects.

''This investment in a second inland port and other planned projects will strengthen our position as the main freight gateway in the South Island,'' Mr Davie said.

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