Stage one of Shipping Plan completed

The Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust is pleased to announce the formation of a new shipping operation with 44 South Shipping Co Ltd (operated by Dennis Nisbet).

The business and assets of 44 South Shipping Co Ltd, previously based in Napier, have been purchased by a new operating company, Chatham Islands Shipping Ltd (CISL) of which the Trust holds a 51% stake and 44S a 49% stake. The vessel MV Baldur is now wholly-owned by the Enterprise Trust on behalf of the people of the Chatham Islands, via a separate asset holding company. Consequently, for the first time in history, the people of the Chatham Islands now own a controlling interest in our own shipping line; this is a major milestone for the Trust and for Chatham Islanders in our continuing efforts to ensure future prosperity for the Islands. It is the Trust's firm belief that the two major shipping issues, capacity and cost, will be addressed with this purchase along with the longer term proposals that will be put to the community in the coming months.
The new CISL shipping service will start operating on 2 July 2012 under the management of Dennis Nisbet who along with staff and crew will be directly contracted or employed by CISL. The company is seeking to build on the very good work put in by Dennis and his team to date. Trust Chairman, Phil Seymour and Trustee Brent Mallinson along with Dennis Nisbet are the founding Directors of the new CISL Board. CIET will be seeking nominations for an additional Director in the coming weeks.

Brian Harris and Dennis Nisbet will be visiting the towns of Timaru and Napier in the next week or so to introduce themselves and to cement relationships going forward. They will met with Local Authorities , Stakeholders and Key Suppliers to reassure business leaders that the Chathams trade is and will remain an intrinsic part of their local economy. CISL will be a customer focused organization and will strive to exceed customer expectations; therefore customers will drive the service and the schedule. The company is very pleased that the recently appointed representatives, Leanne at Timaru and Renee at Napier, will continue in their respective roles to provide ongoing support to our customers and suppliers.

Drivers
The drivers behind the Trust's involvement with shipping were widely discussed during the public consultation period in late 2010, this being around the time when BRF went into receivership. The resulting community meeting culminated in an overwhelming decision for the Trust to proceed to make some form of investment in the Chatham Islands shipping service and, if possible, to work closely with 44 South Shipping Ltd. Over the last year considerable time and effort was spent trying to purchase the assets of BRF, however an acceptable deal was not able to be struck. The subsequent purchase of 44 South has been part of our long term objective for some time in order to provide the required level of security for the Island trade. For years the Chatham Islands community have been at the mercy of various off-island shipping services. The ongoing uncertainty and inefficiency that follows these cycles has had a huge negative economic effect on the Islands. Reducing the effect of these detrimental cycles is one of the major drivers behind the Trust and communities desire to have a greater level of control over its own shipping service.

Administration
Both Renee & Leanne will look after our customers' requirements in Timaru and Napier and local support will be provided by the office at the Waitangi wharf shed. Enquiries can be directed to the appropriate person as per the contact details advertised. Financial and top level support services will be provided to the shipping company as and when required by Chatham Islands Management Ltd. While the CISL Manager is an autonomous position, answering directly to the CISL Board, Trust CEO, Brian Harris, will provide additional management support during the interim period as and when required.

As with all other Trust entities, CISL accounts will be open to audit and to public scrutiny, so for the first time in history, we will all know the fully-transparent costs of operating a Chatham Islands Shipping Service. Further, Directors and Trustees will take responsibly to ensure that we have a service that is efficient and sustainable and that we can all be proud of.

The Service
Fundamental to an efficient and effective Chatham shipping service will be the absolute necessity to utilize the Company assets for maximum benefit for all Chatham Islanders. Priority will be given to as near as possible 100% utilization of the Baldur with additional support chartered on an as required basis for busy periods of the year. The management team are presently setting a year in advance sailing schedule for the Baldur, which will service all our ports including Waitangi, Pitt Island, Timaru and Napier.

The Company hopes to have some positive news in terms of freight rates during the next 12 months, after final analysis of the financial results and the data already collected, this of course being dependant on the level of support from the Island. CISL has a number of other initiatives that will be introduced over the next 12 months that will enhance operational delivery of service. Management and staff ask members of the community to bear with us while we refine our systems and procedures. Our intention is to commence trading "on the run" so there will be no interruption to the current service. CIET and CISL look forward to working with all Chatham Islanders, Service Providers and Stakeholders both on and off-Island over the coming months.

The heavy load lifting limitation on the Baldur is currently being addressed and we are confident that we will be able to provide the full range of services required. We also remind customers that the MV Baldur, which carries around 1300 stock units, is fully compliant with the MAF Animal Transport Code of Practice in terms of onboard systems.

Long Term Plan
Looking to the future CISL has completed preliminary design of a new purpose-built stock and general freight carrier specifically for the Chathams Trade. The new vessel will be capable of carrying 2500 stock units and will be the most modern and efficient ever utilized on the service. CISL has obtained a formal written quotation for the vessel which confirms this as a viable long term solution which could be in-service in as little as 18 months, should the people of the Chatham Islands give the Trust the "green light" to proceed. Full Community consultation will take place over the coming months. In the mean time it is vital that Islanders support the new service in order to build capacity, revenue and operational experience, which will in turn secure this future direction.

The Trust openly acknowledges that the next few years will be a determining time in terms of future Chatham Island shipping needs. Over the next two years the direction of livestock production on the Chathams will become increasingly clear. CISL will by then have fully established itself as a shipping operator with a proven track record and will be fully conversant with the intricacies of operating a "Chathams" shipping service.

The success or otherwise of this venture will depend entirely on the people of the Islands, the new service will require support from the community. In the meantime it's a case of walk before we run; a time to concentrate on our customers' needs, to enhance the level of service and to provide a service at a price that is affordable and sustainable. We look forward to being of service and to working with you all in the interests of CISL and "your own shipping line".