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PrimePort Timaru prospers

By Hugh Stringleman

Friday 10th October 2003

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PrimePort Timaru continues to shine, maintaining a $1 million net surplus after tax in the year ended June 30, 2003, while exceeding one million tonnes of cargo movements across its wharves for the first time.

Revenue from port operations rose $3 million to $12.3 million, half of which comes in outgoing dairy products sourced from Fonterra Co-operativeGroup and its NZMP Clandeboye plant.

A further $1 million was received in land and building rentals from the port company's extensive cold storage, warehouses and port associates.

It has the largest cold storage capacity in Australasia and is the South Island's second-biggest fishing port.

Timaru is receiving three ships per fortnight from Maersk Sealand, the world's largest shipping line, plus an MSC transtasman vessel each week, and regular Tasman Orient containerised and break-bulk vessels.

It is also the South Island base for Sanford fishing company.

PrimePort has invested $23 million in the past two years on cranes, forklifts and site works.

Earlier this year it commissioned two million dollar-plus Liebherr 500 mobile harbour cranes from Austria, and now achieves more than 45 container movements per hour.

The cranes were the first deployed of their size and technology anywhere in the world.

Timaru's deepwater port aids the fast turnarounds, due to an absence of tidal issues.

The new forklifts are capable of stacking containers five-high with full loads, greatly increasing the capacity of the north mole container terminal.

PrimePort recently committed itself to a 15,000sq m covered milk powder store for Fonterra exports, and this facility will be operating on the city's South Beach early next year.

It is alongside the existing cold storage and warehousing zone and the TranzRail depot, beside the main trunk railway.

PrimePort chairman Alistair Betts and chief executive Jeremy Boys believe the port has largely recovered its rightful position in South Island cargo movements but that further growth is not an entitlement, and must be earned.

The community-owned port will pay a dividend of 3c on each of 10 million fully paid shares, held by Timaru District Holdings and Port Industry Holdings.

Bank debt at the end of the last financial year was $17.7 million and financing costs during the year were $1.245 million.

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