20 Sep 2013

Canterbury agriculture bucking trend

6:38 am on 20 September 2013

Exporters in Canterbury are reporting strong economic growth, despite new figures showing a nationwide slowdown.

Lyttelton Port, which handles many of the products leaving the province, says its outgoing container trade has jumped 37% since the September 2010 earthquake.

Last quarter's economic slowdown is being blamed on the drought that gripped much of the country earlier this year, causing agricultural production to fall more than 10%.

However, record numbers of containers full of grains, seeds and dairy product leaving the Lyttelton Port would suggest otherwise.

Chief executive Peter Davie says 350,000 containers left the port in the past year, contributing to the company's $16 million profit.

He says he expects the growth to continue between 7 - 10% a year.

Mr Davie says the port is fielding record numbers of inquiries from international shipping lines.

Transport and logistics company Mainfreight says exports by sea from Lyttelton have risen 67% in the past year alone, while its air freight from Christchurch is up by 22%.

It says ongoing Government investment in transport infrastructure is vital for the economic growth to continue.