About the Port
The Port of Greymouth is situated on the West Coast of the South Island at the mouth of the Grey River.
The commercial Port began life in the gold rushes of the 1860's. However it was in the 1880's that investment in breakwaters, wharves, cranes and railways transformed Greymouth into a major coal shipping port to supply the growing New Zealand economy.
As utilisation of indigenous forests developed, Greymouth also became a major timber exporter. Coal and timber exports peaked at 600,000 tonnes per year in the early 1900's, but declined to about 250,000 tonnes a year after the opening of the railway to the east coast in 1923. Timber exports diminished from the 1950's as indigenous timber exports were restricted.
With the discovery of natural gas in the North Island in 1969, the coal trade was greatly reduced, with only limited tug and barge services in the 1990’s. There is no coal exported now, and small volumes of gravel are shipped annually to Auckland. Port of Greymouth are hopeful that the export of precious mineral sands will commence in the next few years.
The fishing industry developed in the 1970's and Greymouth is home to 35 local vessels. Up to 60 vessels visit in the tuna season (January-April) and significant landings of hoki by 20 to 30 metre length vessels in the July-September season.