Buller Port Services Limited operates authority for the Port of Westport. Located some three kilometers from the Pacific Ocean on the Buller River, the Port of Westport shelters fishing boats and commercial cargo vessels to 16 thousand DWT.
Buller Port Services Ltd. was created in 1988 when the local municipal governments entered into a contract with Milburn New Zealand Limited, the main user of the port, to manage port facilities after the national government gave the harbor and its assets to the Westport Borough. Initially, Buller Port Services included two operations: the harbor and an engineering workshop. In 2005, the Buller District Council took over the engineering workshop.
The Port of Westport’s dredger “Kawatiri” not only dredges the Buller River but serves Port Nelson and the Port of Greymouth as well, bringing additional revenues to the port.
From 1997 to 2000, the largest barge in the southern hemisphere, the 16 thousand DWT “Union Bulk 1,” carried shipments of coal through the Port of Westport, mainly to Australia. In 2005, Australia received some 184 thousand tons of coal from the Port of Westport and the Port of Lyttelton. Each year, the Port of Westport exports more than 430 thousand tons of cement to other New Zealand ports.
The Port of Westport can accommodate vessels to 131 meters in length with a 25-meter beam; however, vessels should contact the harbormaster before attempting to cross the bar. The Port of Westport uses the tug/pilot vessel Bob Gower to assist vessels entering the port.
The Port of Westport contains 20 thousand square meters of flat storage area. It is equipped with an electric travelling crane with a 17-meter radius that can lift 12.2 metric tons of cargo. The port also has mobile cranes available.