Lyttelton Port of Christchurch has disclosed a $1 billion development plan as rival Port of Tauranga signs one of the country's biggest logistics groups up to its terminal in Timaru.
Lyttelton wants to reclaim land to the east for a new container terminal. The public will have better access to the western side of the port where a new marina, a commercial development that complements the Lyttelton township and seating are planned.
The reclamation into Te Awaparahi Bay could be as large as 35ha.
The majority council-owned port wants the ability to handle larger ships and it is also rebuilding after the Christchurch earthquakes.
"We simply don't have enough room and the only logical solution is moving east," said chief executive Peter Davie.
He had no initial comment on a deal announced yesterday between Maersk, Port of Tauranga and logistics company Kotahi, which puts significant amounts of freight through Timaru.
Kotahi is led by Fonterra Co-operative Group and meat company Silver Fern Farms.
Last week Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said he was using the powers of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 to allow for timelier redevelopment of the badly damaged Lyttelton Port.
He directed Environment Canterbury and Lyttelton Port Company to prepare a Lyttelton Port recovery plan.
The port has reached 5.5ha on its existing reclamation project and has consent for 10ha being filled with earthquake rubble in the next two years, and may need a further 20ha.
The port has been handling increasing container volumes since the earthquake, particularly as dairy exports from the Canterbury region rise.
The port's shares closed yesterday at $3.15, having gained 4.7 per cent this year.