The Maritime Union of New Zealand is hosting a public meeting on the future of the Port of Timaru. The meeting will be held at “Robbies” (Hibernian Hotel), Latter Street, Timaru on Thursday 17 September starting at 7.30pm sharp.
All concerned local people are invited to the meeting, including port workers, unions, business, industry, farmers, and all those concerned with the future of the port.
For more information see the Port of Timaru campaign website.
The Maritime Union has stepped up its demand for answers as fallout continues from Fonterra’s dumping of regional ports in favour of long distance rail – and the influence that state subsidies to KiwiRail may have had on any deal.
KiwiRail has waded into the growing debate over the fate of regional ports, as the implications of Fonterra’s withdrawal from ports in New Plymouth and Timaru becomes apparent.
The Maritime Union has hit back at “socially irresponsible” Fonterra pulling out of regional ports and says the dairy giant’s profits are being subsidized by the taxpayer.
Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Trevor Hanson says Fonterra has come out with “weak excuses” for its decision to pull out of some regional ports in favour of transporting products by long distance rail.
Mr Hanson says the future of the New Zealand transport industry seems to be in the hands of one man, Fonterra General Manager of Supply Chain Strategy Nigel Jones.
“Fonterra holds the fate of whole regional economies in their hands because of their size and influence, but seem to have no accountability to anyone but themselves.”
The Maritime Union says Fonterra’s decision to stop shipping containerized exports through Port Taranaki and Port Timaru was an example of how entire regional economies within New Zealand were being disrupted.
The recent announcement by Fonterra means the loss of 25,000 boxes of cargo to Port Taranaki in New Plymouth, and the loss of 24,000 boxes to Port Timaru annually.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the “overnight decisions” by Fonterra and major shipping companies are harming regional communities and regional ports through a process of “destructive competition” where ports experienced major and unpredictable changes in shipments.