OTAGO PORT RENEWS STRADDLES

Two newbuild Kalmar straddle carriers are expected to be in operation at Port Otago this September under the port’s ongoing fleet replacement programme.

Replacing two 16-year-old models from Port Otago’s existing fleet of 15 Kalmar twin-lift straddle carriers, the €1.6 million investment will entail one ESC350 and one ESC450 model, which are capable of three-high and four-high container stack lifts respectively.

Port Otago chief executive Geoff Plunket says the new straddle carriers — which are also diesel/electric models — will “definitely” improve operations.

“You only have to look at a car and how it has advanced in the past 16 years,” he notes.

“And clearly, our people like driving the newer machines. They are quieter as well, so a lower noise profile which is important for us at Port Chalmers … much better technology, smoother driving, better lifting. So definitely a step up.”

Mr Plunket says the business aims to introduce new straddle carriers every two to three years and has a policy of deliberately ordering in pairs so as to limit the technological differences across the entire fleet.

In a similar vein, he says the port has also made the deliberate decision to stay faithful to the one manufacturer.

“Our people understand the Kalmars and we have a long-term relationship with them.”

The investment does not form part of Port Otago’s ongoing $45 million Next Generation Project.

Meet Port Otago’s new CEO

portotagonewceoPort Otago’s impressively-advanced leadership succession process has now concluded, with current Silver Fern Farms chief operating officer Kevin Winders confirmed as its chief executive designate.

Described as having a strong financial and strategic skill set as well as good understanding of shipping though involvement with Kotahi, Mr Winders is to join the port company in February and ultimately succeed current chief executive Geoff Plunket at the end of 2017.

Port Otago chairperson David Faulkner says the appointment culminated a three-month recruitment process, which followed Mr Plunket recently announcing he was to retire from the position he has held since 2004.
“There were a number of very strong candidates and Kevin ticked all the boxes,” says Mr Faulkner.

Also having previous roles with PGG Wrightson, Contact Energy and KPMG, Mr Winders comments: “I am looking forward to the challenge of the new role and being part of the team to deliver the Next Generation infrastructural programme.”

Describing as “an honour and a privilege” what will be about 30 years’ involvement with the port at the end of 2017, Mr Plunket says he has no plans to move onto the board.

“A new management team needs the opportunity to run the business in the way they think is appropriate and that may be different to how I’ve done it,” he says.