Creating a commercial hub for dry bulk goods is a strategic focus for Port Taranaki as it continues to diversify in an increasingly competitive sector.
Port Taranaki bought 18.8 hectares of the former Contact Energy power station site in 2013 and has been redeveloping the area since, including demolishing the boiler room and equipment in the turbine hall.
Now, as Port Taranaki Head of Commercial Allan Melhuish explains, the company is focused on building up rather than tearing down.
“Since buying that land adjacent to the port we have been using it for storage facilities,” Allan says. “Our plan is to facilitate trade by developing a dry bulk hub for our clients and prospective clients – providing a greater footprint of storage, which allows for greater supply chain efficiency for our customers.”
“Having that land available is attractive to customers. It’s more efficient to bring in cargo here and transport it around the greater region, than to transport it into the region by truck from other ports,” Allan says.
“Shipping will always be a big component of our broader business, but we have certainly been looking to diversify in recent years, and facilitating trade by providing logistic solutions is a big part of that,” Allan says.
Part of the port’s business diversification and move to provide logistics solutions has included buying land and buildings in the area, including the tank farm on Centennial Drive and, recently, the Fitzroy Yachts building on Ocean View Parade.
“The tank farm is being refurbished, has been leased to BP and will be operational later this year or early next year. It means larger vessels can come in to the port and greater parcels of petrol and diesel can be stored here and transported from here.”
The purchase of the Fitzroy Yachts building in June was about securing an important strategic asset for the future growth and development of the port area. The 5890 square metres building, which was owned by White-Robinson Holdings Ltd, had not been in use since Fitzroy Yachts closed its doors in 2014.
While other ports, such as Auckland and Tauranga have a range of goods coming in and going out, which means a diversified revenue stream, a major part of Port Taranaki’s revenue remains very much tied to the commodity markets of oil and gas, forestry and agriculture.
“When they do it tough, we do it tough as well, so we have to make ourselves attractive to companies operating in other sectors too. And at all times offer excellent service and greater supply chain efficiency at competitive rates. ” Allan says.