Port Taranaki

From Global Energy Monitor

Port Taranaki is in New Plymouth, Taranaki Region, New Zealand. It is the only deep-water port on the west coast of New Zealand.

A 2005 agreement for the port to export coal from the Pike River mine fell through in 2007. In 2012, Bathurst Resources was planning to export Buller Project coal from Westport Harbour to Asia via Port Taranaki. As of 2021, oil and gas products were the port’s predominant cargo, and the coal handling situation was unclear.


Port Taranaki is in New Plymouth, Taranaki Region, New Zealand, on the west coast of the North Island.

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Coal handling


Port Taranaki is centrally located on the west coast of the North Island and is the only deep water seaport on New Zealand's western seaboard. It was established in 1875. The port offers nine fully serviced berths for a wide variety of cargoes and vessels.[1]

2005 Pike River agreement falls through

In 2005, Pike River entered a contract to deliver 1.3 million tonnes of coal a year from its West Coast mine to Port Taranaki in New Plymouth for export. However, in 2007, Solid Energy signed an 18-year agreement with fellow coal miner Pike River to carry coal on the Midland rail line to Lyttelton Port of Christchurch for export. Port Taranaki was to make an $18 million investment in upgrading and had started a purpose-built coastal bulk ship. The port had also just spent $20 million on a dredging project designed to deepen the harbour so it could accommodate bigger ships. Pike River chief executive Gordon Ward said that while Port Taranaki would have to wear some financial losses.[2] Pike River mine closed following a November 2010 mine explosion.

2012 Bathurst Resources agreement

In 2012, Port Taranaki was expected to export coal from Bathurst Resources coal mines on the West Coast.[3] In January, Bathurst Resources signed a Deed of Ground Lease with Port Taranaki Limited, marking an important milestone for the Buller Coal Project in New Zealand in further securing a route to market. Under the agreement, Bathurst was set to construct a covered storage shed in an area designated to accept incoming coal from the Westport Harbour.[4]

In April 2012, the Port reported that volumes of bulk and dry goods such as fertilisers, animal feeds, and log exports increased more than fourfold in five years. The Port was touting that dry bulk growth was set to continue increasing with export shipments of metallurgical quality coking coal by Bathurst Resources from Westport to Asia via Port Taranaki. Bathurst Resources was expected to ramp up its coal production from the Denniston Plateau to one million tonnes, then two million tonnes per annum for the next 35 years.[5]

Bathurst coal was expected to be initially exported to China, Japan, and South Korea. There would 8,000 to 12,000 tonnes of storage capacity at Westport Harbour and 30,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes of capacity at Port Taranaki.[6]

According to an RBC Capital Markets 2013 document, transhipment to Port Taranaki was required because Westport Harbour was shallow and unable to accommodate the vessels required to export coal. The investor document also detailed the following:

“Bathurst has trialled its transhipment process using small vessels (less than 1,000t capacity) to Port Taranaki; once production ramps up, the vessel size is expected to increase to nearly 10,000t. Work is underway on the design of these vessels, and only two are likely to be required. Work at Taranaki is underway with Bathurst signing an agreement with the port authority for a staged expansion of the current facilities. In 2012, Bathurst completed the construction of storage sheds adjacent to the port (NZ$1.5 million). The second-stage expansion would see the coal storage area expanded in-line with the increase in production, and the final, third phase of the expansion would involve the installation of modern loading systems.”[7]

Recent port operations

The Port’s 2020-21 Annual Report highlighted Port Taranaki as New Zealand’s “premier energy port,” with oil and gas products being the predominant cargo. That year, total trade volumes were 5.1 million tonnes: 1.18 million tonnes in imports and 3.92 million tonnes in exports. Bulk liquids represent the majority of the volume.[8] Coal was not referenced, and the coal handling situation following the 2012-2013 announcements is unknown.

Overall, coal production from Bathurst Resources’s export operations was only 515,000 tonnes in the first half of 2020 and 428,000 tonnes in the second half.[9]

Project Details

  • Operator: Port Taranaki Limited
  • Location: New Plymouth, Taranaki Region, New Zealand
  • Coal Capacity (Million tonnes per annum): unknown
  • Status: Operating
  • Type: Exports
  • Source of Coal: Bathurst Resources coal mines on the West Coast, NZ

Contact details

Website: http://www.porttaranaki.co.nz/

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