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Lyttelton Port won't accept cruise bookings for 2013-14 season

Thursday 18th October 2012

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Lyttelton Port Co, the South Island's biggest port operator, will not be taking bookings for the majority of cruise vessels in the 2013/2014 season after the region's earthquakes put plans for a new cruise berth on hold.

In March, the Christchurch-based port announced it was deferring plans to build a new cruise berth after a review of development projects found the city's earthquakes had forced design changes driving the cost up by 40 percent to $20 million.

The port, which is 79.3 percent owned by Christchurch City Council's holding company, first flagged a purpose-built cruise berth facility in 2010.

"Given the complex nature and the limited timeframe it will be challenging to meet the opening of the 2013/2014 cruise season," chief executive, Peter Davie said in a statement. "When we do the cruise birth development we will need to take into account infrastructure such as roads and parking for coaches, to provide customers with an experience that is up to international standard."

The port is still accepting bookings from small cruise vessels which can be berthed at its inner harbour.

In August, Lyttelton Port boosted a 40 percent increase in annual earnings to $17 million as it benefitted from a growing volume of imports for the city's rebuild and increasing log exports. Revenue climbed 14 percent to $104.5 million.

Its shares are down 4.5 percent trading at $2.10.

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