Behind the scenes look at history-making Eastland Port

Behind the scenes look at history-making Eastland Port

As Eastland Port registers its biggest export month in its history, it’s giving guardians of our national identify, students, sport fishers, and MPs, unprecedented access behind the scenes.

Eastland Port achieved record log tonnage throughput in August, reaching 297,195 tonnes.

It’s an increase of 36 percent compared to last August when it reached 219,245 tonnes.

It was the busiest month for wood export since Eastland Port was created in 2003, and the biggest export month in the history of the port.

The record is no surprise to Port General Manager Andrew Gaddum as demand for local wood from overseas continues to show year-over-year increases almost every month.

“The local supply chains are working to keep up with these demands and Eastland Port is at the end of that supply chain.”

Thirteen log vessels took away wood bound for India and China during the month. Each ship carried between 8000–36,000 tonnes of logs.

Mr Gaddum says September and October should be two of the busiest months ever seen for wood export – possibly setting more new records.

The forecast is made as exporters move away from the more difficult winter harvest months and enter the spring flush.

“We’re expecting exporters to shift some of the largest volumes of wood ever, and that’s a good indicator that what we’re planning for the twin berth project will meet the needs of our customers.”

To manage the volume of wood coming, the port wants to be able to park two 200m long ships in the port and load them at the same time. The problem is, at the moment it hasn’t got enough room to load them both, or enough strong wharf frontage, to park them both.

Eastland Port has openly shared its development plans since May, and for the past three months, Mr Gaddum has been showing interested groups of iwi, business leaders, conservationists and heritage staff, around the normally secure port. The behind-the-scenes tour of the port is now a regular Tuesday morning event.

This week a Lytton High School economics class, Heritage New Zealand’s Lower North Island Manager, East Coast MP Anne Tolley, and Gisborne Tatapouri Sport Fishing Club members, are taking a look behind the scenes.

Mr Gaddum welcomes the scrutiny. “We reckon we’re all in this together. Some people find what we are proposing challenging, while others are dying to know more. So we’re involving as many people as we can in the port’s five-year development plan.”

Image: Budding economists from Lytton High School led by teacher Hagan Logue take a look behind-the-scenes at Eastland Port.