18 Jul 2008

Fuel costs blamed for shipping route withdrawal

5:17 pm on 18 July 2008

The increased cost of fuel is being blamed for the departure of one of Taranaki's most popular trans-Tasman container shipping services.

Gold Star Line announced on Friday it will pull out of the trans-Tasman trade from next week, saying it's losing $130,000 a trip.

Port Taranaki Limited's business development manager Jon Hacon says Gold Star Line's original planning for the weekly trans-Tasman service called for fuel bunkers to be priced at about $450 a tonne.

He says those prices have now risen to more than $800 a tonne.

"It was certainly supported by Taranaki importers and exporters and indeed one of the more prominent ones have approached us to ask if there is anything they can do to keep the service going," says Mr Hacon.

"But we said there is not because we are losing so much on each trip and you just cannot operate in such an environment."

Mr Hacon says there is already interest from other shipping lines in filling the gap Gold Star's withdrawal will create.