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Coronavirus shuts down Gisborne log exports 'until further notice'

Gisborne’s log exports to China are expected to come to a shuddering halt, due to exporters' fears over the spread of the mysterious and deadly Coronavirus in China.

The vast majority of log exports from here go to China but Eastland Port operator Eastland Group say some exporters had halted exports to China.

This morning, Eastland Group chief operating officer Andrew Gaddum confirmed to The Gisborne Herald the South Korea-bound log-ship Naruto Strait, in port today, would be the last log ship to be loaded “until further notice.”

“This is a challenging time, globally and locally, and the impacts are now being felt across New Zealand and here in Tairawhiti.

“Eastland Port is open and will continue to stay open. However, the flow of product is hugely reduced, as it is at ports around the country.

“The situation is evolving rapidly, as exporters respond to these unprecedented and incredibly challenging circumstances.

"As of Monday afternoon, we understand several companies in the region will soon temporarily stop all log exports.

"Several others are planning to keep sending product through Eastland Port, to markets including Korea.

"There may also be some product going to China, although at significantly reduced volumes. This will depend on the restrictions being placed on movement between China and New Zealand, which are being strictly adhered to.

"Eastland Port remains open, and we continue to work closely with our customers.”

In January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed a new type of coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation and following guidance from the World Health Organization but says the likelihood of an imported case in New Zealand is high.

Although the likelihood of a widespread outbreaks remains low the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) recommends New Zealanders do not travel to any part of mainland China.

In order to reduce the chances of 2019-nCoV spreading within New Zealand, additional border measures were implemented yesterday.

Those measures will deny entry to New Zealand for anyone who has left or transited through mainland China from February 2, 2020, with the exception of New Zealand citizens (including those from the three Countries of the Realm: Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family, and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment.

STOP NOTICE: Log ships will not enter Eastland Port until further notice. File picture