A long-term contract for moving barley between the Whanganui and Timaru ports will mean a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for a Marton-based company.

Malteurop NZ and Coastal Bulk Shipping, whose cargo carrier MV Anatoki is a regular user of the Whanganui port, have signed a long-term partnership to move a significant portion of Malteurop's yearly barley harvest by sea.

Malteurop NZ is New Zealand's largest malting company and is a significant employer for Whanganui-Rangitīkei.

Operations manager Glen Simmonds said the decision to formalise the arrangement with Coastal Bulk Shipping arose from the effects of the Kaikoura earthquake which had highlighted the need to spread the company's transport options to ensure long-term resilience.

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"Coastal Bulk Shipping provided valuable assistance following the earthquake and has continued to do so," Simmonds said.

"Coastal Bulk Shipping has been able to show the reduced carbon footprint of moving our cargo by sea.

"They are also working with transport company Philip Wareing Ltd from Methven who, with the confidence of the partnership, have built grain silos in Washdyke near the Timaru Port.

"This allows the grain to be moved to suit trucking loads, minimising empty running. The overall result is a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the movement of our product.

"The movement of our product through the Whanganui port provides not only resilience to our supply chain, but also the reduction in emissions is in keeping with the company's aim of achieving long-term sustainability."

Coastal Bulk Shipping owner Doug Smith said details around the contract were commercially sensitive but it was for "a significant number of years" and would help the development of Whanganui's port activity.

"It enables us to go out to market to identify potential southbound loads," Smith said.

"The vessel has been very busy of late and having the grain contract is a big part of that."

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In the past few months, the Anatoki had brought in 2500 tonnes of dolomite from the South Island.

Smith said the Government's indication of an future funding announcement to boost coastal shipping could be beneficial to his company.

"Time will tell," he said.

"We have to be competitive, otherwise they will just continue to push road and rail options."