Taranaki punches above its weight when it comes to chicken, with the region contributing as much as 40 percent of poultry company Tegel’s national output.
Port Taranaki also plays a vital role in Tegel’s Taranaki operations, with over 40 percent of all the raw materials for the poultry company’s feeds operations around the country imported through the New Plymouth port.
“In chicken production terms, Taranaki definitely punches above its weight,” says John Russell, Tegel’s manager, grain-international commodities.
Tegel imports about 150,000-180,000 tonnes of raw materials each year for its poultry feeds operations around the country, with approximately 70,000-80,000 tonnes coming in through Port Taranaki. He says Tegel is so reliant on imports because New Zealand doesn’t produce enough grain and/or stock feed raw materials.
"Port Taranaki is a key strategic partner for Tegal"
“The massive growth of the dairy industry during the last 20 years has reduced the amount of land available for grain production, and the best grain land makes the best dairy land. So not only have we lost land to dairying, but we’ve lost some of the best producing grain hectares. To top it off, the increasing trend of supplementary feeding of dairy cows is a ‘double whammy’ as cattle feed demand increases further.”
During the past 15 years, imports of stock feed ingredients have gone from 1.5 million tonnes to 3.5 million tonnes per annum.
He says that coupled with this dairy demand growth, New Zealand’s logistics infrastructure is of poor quality and is fragmented, with freight costs within New Zealand relatively much higher than international freight costs. To import grain to Taranaki from the South Island to New Plymouth costs about $65-70 per tonne but to import grain from the east coast of Australia to Taranaki costs only about $35 per tonne.
“So, given these supply and demand trends, plus New Zealand’s poor domestic infrastructure, this makes having strategic partners like Port of Taranaki critical for our business.”
John says Tegel takes biosecurity for New Zealand takes very seriously.
“As a major importer of grains and other stock feed ingredients, meeting quarantine rules for imports is a fundamental requirement for Tegel being in business.”
Tegel – a fully vertically integrated company – controls all aspects of the poultry supply chain from breeders, hatcheries, broilers (meat chooks),
raw material supply and feed-milling, to processing, further processing and distribution. It is wholly owned by Affinity Equity Partners, independently owned fund managers operating in the Asia-Pacific region with offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Jakarta, Singapore, Seoul and Sydney.
“Tegel is used by many parties in the international poultry industry as ‘the standard’ for broiler performance “as we convert feed to chicken meat more efficiently than anyone else in the world. Tegel poultry needs less feed to grow to two kilograms in weight than any other chicken producer in any other part of the world,” says John.
He adds that this is primarily due to a lack of global avian diseases in New Zealand, one reason why Kiwi native birds are so diverse and unique; and Tegel’s long-term commitment to quality, biosecurity, health and animal welfare.
Their operations include four major processing facilities, smaller valueadded processing plants, feed mills, and breeding and hatching facilities in the Auckland, Taranaki, Canterbury and Otago regions. In all, Tegel employs almost 2000 people. Its Taranaki facilities consist of about 30 broiler farms and 10 breeder farms located within a 50km radius of the New Plymouth suburb of Bell Block, where the region’s processing plant-branch office is located, plus one feed mill, a grain store and a hatchery.
As far as Taranaki goes, usually at least 90% of poultry stock feed requirements are imported in break-bulk carriers. However, over the past 12 months or so more than 30,000 tonnes of this have been imported in full container loads (FCLs).
“We think they provide a fantastic service. Because of this and their great attitude, we use Port Taranaki as our ‘standard model’ for how we would like things to work in other ports and facilities,” John concludes.