Cement firm Holcim’s maritime woes look set to continue as it will be at least next week before its cement ships can leave Westport harbour fully loaded.
Holcim has confirmed it had bought cement from rival Golden Bay Cement, owned by Fletcher Building, as low harbour bar depths continued to hamper its shipping arrangements.
It has been 42 days since Holcim has been able to make a cement shipment from its Cape Foulwind works near Westport. The harbour bar depths were caused by a shortage of rainfall in the Buller River catchment, which meant the harbour had been too shallow for Holcim’s ships to navigate safely for almost six weeks.
Heavy seas have interfered with dredging operations, forcing Holcim to send cement by road to Nelson or by rail to Christchurch. General manager Jeremy Smith said Holcim would continue to run its "contingencies" until the weather pattern settled.