It is situated in the rich productive province of Southland, which is responsible for generating a sizeable proportion of New Zealand’s total exports by value. The region’s major cargo producing sites are all situated within 30 to 80km of the Port.
The Port of Bluff has been operating since 1877, while the Company was formed in 1988, having taken over the assets and liabilities of the former Southland Harbour Board.
South Port was listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) in 1994 and has Environment Southland, the region’s local government environmental agency, as its 66% majority shareholder. It is the only Southland-based company listed on NZX.
South Port established its off-port Intermodal Freight Centre (IFC) in July 2016. Strategically located adjacent to the KiwiRail railhead in Invercargill, the IFC allows importers and exporters in the Southland and Otago regions to distribute their products in a timely and efficient manner.
South Port is one of the major employers in the region, governed by a Board of six Independent Directors and employing more than 120 full-time equivalent staff.
The Port handles over 3.4 million tonnes of import and export cargo in a normal trading year, offering full container, break bulk, and bulk cargo capability, and services the main following cargoes:
South Port prides itself on delivering quality results through quality people. The Port is headed up by the Leadership Team, who are:
BCom, Dip Port Management
Nigel was appointed to the role of Chief Executive on 1 October 2017. He has 25 years' experience in the port industry and has held positions in commercial, operations and finance at South Port.
Nigel is currently an appointed board member of the Southland Chamber of Commerce.
BCom, ACA, PGCertEM
Geoff originally joined the South Port Leadership team in 2004 as Finance Manager. In his current role, he has responsibilities for the Company’s bulk cargo, marine and health & safety requirements. In his previous positions of Cargo Operations Manager and Port Operations Manager, he played an important role in establishing and developing the Company’s container and dry warehouse activities.
Geoff has also held positions with Goodman Fielder and Fonterra. He is the current Chairperson of Export Southland and presenter supporting the Southland Leadership Academy.
Jamie was appointed to the Business Development Manager position in November 2017. Prior to this appointment he was based in Invercargill as the Supervisor of the South Port Intermodal Freight Centre during its opening and start-up phase. Before this he had worked in a Marketing Analyst role based in Bluff since January 2011.
Jamie held various home and personal lending positions at The National Bank before he joined the South Port team.
Hayden holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from Canterbury University. Hayden’s role as Container Manager for the Port sees him responsible for the overall container operation including the terminal, depot, crane and mobile plant maintenance functions.
Hayden also oversees the Intermodal Freight Centre strategically located at the railhead in Invercargill. Hayden previously worked in heavy industries in both engineering and operations at ECNZ and Ballance Agri-Nutrients before joining South Port in 2012.
BEng (Civil), MIPENZ, CPEng, Dip Port Management
Frank joined South Port as Infrastructure Manager in January 2015. Frank’s responsibilities include providing and maintaining land, sea and wharf infrastructure associated with port operations as well as ensuring port operational practices comply with current environmental standards.
Frank is a Civil Engineer and worked as an Engineer in Ireland and Australia before moving permanently to New Zealand in 2005. Frank has been a member of Engineering New Zealand since 2006 and a Chartered Professional Engineer since 2010.
BCom, DipGrad, CA
Lara has held the position of Finance Manager since March 2007. She is responsible for the financial management of the Port including interim and annual reporting. She continually monitors the financial performance of the business which includes preparing the annual budget and providing regular forecasts to the Board to enable them to make informed decisions about future capital projects.
Among other things, Lara is responsible for managing the Company’s property leases, ICT, treasury functions, insurance and NZX reporting obligations.
Murray is the Manager of the Port’s Warehousing operations comprising both cold and dairy dry goods storage and handling for the agriculture and aquaculture industries. He oversaw the amalgamation of the cold storage activities to the Island Harbour site following the termination of the lease at Foreshore Road.
Murray joined South Port in 2016 after a 32-year career with the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter, a major processing and manufacturing plant, where he held numerous operational and leadership roles which included responsibility for the site shipping activities.
Helen has been a member of the Leadership Team since November 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Canterbury and started her career as a commercial and property lawyer before specialising in employment law and transitioning into human resources.
Her previous experience includes eight years as Chief Executive of Sport Southland, as well as two terms as a Tenancy Tribunal Adjudicator and eight years on the Council of the Southern Institute of Technology (three years as Chair).
South Port is governed by a Board of 6 Independent Directors. They are:
LLB, CMinstD, Chairman
Mr Chapman is a Senior Partner in Southland/Queenstown Law Firm Cruickshank Pryde based in Invercargill. He has been in legal practice in Invercargill for 40 years. Mr Chapman’s practice covers a wide range of legal services including commercial and company law, litigation, dispute resolution and resource management.
He is also a member of the Southland Aquaculture Working Group established to promote and support the development of sustainable aquaculture in Southland.
BCA, LLB (Hons), CFInstD
Mr Cory-Wright is a Company Director and a Strategic Adviser based in Auckland. He is inaugural Chairman of Papa Rererangi I Puketapu (New Plymouth Airport) and a Director of Matariki Forests, the Local Government Funding Agency and Powerco. Mr Cory-Wright was previously a member of the Local Government Infrastructure Expert Advisory Group.
Mr Foggo moved to semi-retirement from Sanford Limited in late 2017 after 37 years in various Senior Management positions. His experience in the aquaculture industry has led to his continued involvement in the Southland Regional Development Strategy’s ‘New Business’ Action Team.
Mr. Foggo established the Youth Development Southland Regional Trust to oversee Kiwi Can in the region and worked to kick-start the funding for the programme locally. Mr Foggo’s future focus is on professional governance opportunities.
Ms Greer is a Company Director based in Queenstown. She is currently a Director of Airways Corporation, Fidelity Life Assurance Ltd, NZ Railways Corporation and a member of the NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal. She is also a shareholder and Director in a privately owned commercial property investment and development company.
Prior to her governance career, Nicola had extensive experience in NZ, Australia and the UK in the banking and finance sectors. This encompassed a range of roles within the financial markets and asset and liability management at ANZ, Citibank and Goldman Sachs.
BAgSci, MProfStuds (Linc) CFInstD
Mrs Kearney’s background is in Agriculture and Farm Business Management Consulting. She is a Judicial Justice of the Peace.
Mrs Kearney is President-elect of the New Zealand Alpine Club and a trustee of Waitaki Safer Community Trust. Formerly, the Chair of Sport Otago and Chair of Network Waitaki Ltd. Mrs Kearney was the 2014 winner of the Institute of Directors Otago Branch Aspiring Director Award. Mrs Kearney acted as an observer director to the Dunedin City Holdings subsidiary company Taieri Gorge Railway Ltd during 2015.
BCom, CA, MInstD
Mr McClean is a Chartered Accountant with nearly 40 years of public practice in the southern region. He is a Principal in Invercargill accounting firm Malloch McClean, holds a Public Practice Certificate with Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand and is a Justice of the Peace.
Mr McClean provides strategic, succession, tax advisory and governance services to a significant portfolio of local agri and commercial businesses. He also enjoys mentoring young business leaders to grow smarter better businesses that balance the needs of work, family and the community.
The Port of Bluff has been operating since 1877. The company South Port New Zealand Ltd was formed in 1988, having taken over the assets and liabilities of the former Southland Harbour Board.
The construction of the current form of the Island Harbour was completed in two stages and if the total development cost is converted into today’s dollars then it would equate to an estimated $255 million of capital. This remarkable 1950’s engineering project turned a barely visible sandbank in the Bluff Harbour into 8 berths and 40 hectares of modern port infrastructure.
At a Special Meeting of the Bluff Harbour Board (name subsequently changed to Southland Harbour Board in 1958) held on 17 April 1952 it was agreed to proceed with a plan devised by the Board Engineer, D.E.S. Mason, to build a man-made island for port expansion. The island would take advantage of a submerged sandbank. Coincidentally, in 1878 Sir John Coode, an English Civil Engineer, was employed by the NZ Government to report on the future of NZ harbours, and a similar idea to use the sandbank was mooted in his report. The island would consist of 8 new berths and 110 acres (44.5 ha) of land for storage sheds, offices, railways etc. at an estimated cost of £4 million ($8 million). It was later agreed to proceed with the project in 2 stages. Stage 1 would provide 5 berths on an island of 84 acres (34 ha) at a total cost of £3,536,000 ($7,072,000), Stage 2, for the 3 remaining berths could come later.
The Government of the day passed the Bluff Harbour Improvement Bill on 3 October 1952 but refused to help with the cost of the project. A subsequent poll of ratepayers held on 13 December 1952 favoured the raising of a loan. In 1953 the first loan was opened for public subscription and after 13 issues the target of £3,536,000 ($7,072,000) was raised with 90% of loan money subscribed by Southland residents.
Tenders were called for Stage 1 on 4 August 1955 and on 1 May 1956, a tender of £3,221,438 ($6,442,876) was accepted from the French firm Societe Nationale de Travaux Publics (S.N.T.P.). Work began in September 1956 with the construction of a temporary bridge to the future island. Rock was dumped off the sea end of the bridge and so the start of the rubble retaining walls commenced which would spread out laterally to outline the perimeter of the island. At the same time, protective steel pilings were driven in around the berths and sand was then pumped by a cutter suction dredge into the area enclosed by the retaining wall and pilings. As work progressed coffer dams held back the sea while the quay walls were concreted. These were later removed and the berths flooded.
On 24 June 1960, the main contract for the construction of the Island Harbour was completed. At this stage, there were no buildings on the Island. A tender was accepted from P. Graham & Son Ltd of Christchurch for construction of the cargo sheds, the No. 1 Shed being completed in time for the official opening on 3 December 1960.
The Company, its customers and the people of the region are extremely fortunate that they will continue to enjoy the value created through the establishment of the Island Harbour. In relation to this development, the foresight, tenacity and hard work of previous Southland generations should be acknowledged.