The hundreds of truck-loads of logs heading north out of Whanganui along State Highway 3 are proving to be a significant windfall for Port Taranaki.

In its latest half yearly report (July 1 - December 31 last year), the port company recorded a slight drop in revenue compared to the same period the year before.

But chief executive Guy Roper said the burgeoning log trade was playing a key role in shoring up business.

The company had removed one of the port-side coolstores to create more room for log stockpiling and was working to develop a "logs-on-rail" service with KiwiRail from Whanganui.


In the last half of 2018, more than 425,000 tonnes of logs were shipped through the New Plymouth port and all of that timber came out of forests being harvested across the Whanganui district.

For the port company it meant an 18 per cent rise in revenue from the log trade while log ship visits were up by more 50 per cent.

Roper said the log trade was expected to grow and that meant more storage space was needed to meet demand.

The log trade is essential plugging a gap in dropping trade volumes with less maintenance work involving the oil and gas industry serviced through the port, as well as reduced demand for supplementary animal feed coming over the wharves.

Port Taranaki chairman Peter Dryden said while trading conditions in the second half of the year were expected to soften, the company was in a solid position looking ahead, with total trade volumes forecast to be above 5 million tonnes.

And the log trade was expected to continue growing as harvesting ramped up in the Whanganui region.