Earlier this year, Taranaki had its first glimpse of a unique type of sea horse.

These were not the cute little fish found in the tropical and subtropical coastal and reef waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans – and also in many New Zealand aquariums.

They were two thoroughbred stallions shipped out of Port Taranaki in specially designed containers aboard the Tasman Orient Commander vessel bound for Indonesia, where the Indonesian Government is to use them for breeding racehorses.

Waikato based company Sea Horse Sea Freight brought the horses down to Taranaki for the first, but hopefully not the last shipment from the New Plymouth port.

Husband and wife team John and Allison Lozell set up Sea Horse Sea Freight in 2002, after seeing the need for more cost-effective alternatives than air freighting horses overseas. They have since exported countless horses to numerous countries – as well as importing from Australia.

Although Australia is the main source of their business, they also export horses to New Caledonia, Tahiti, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, Norfolk Island, Japan, Taiwan and now Indonesia.

Says Allison – we get asked to send horses to all sorts of interesting places and if there’s a shipping service available, we’ll do it. Our service makes overseas horse transport a reality for a lot more people because it is so much more affordable than air freight. The other major advantage of course is that it is a completely stress free situation for the horses.

Besides the Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses, we move a lot of pleasure horses for showjumping, dressage and western riding and family pets. There’s something really rewarding about helping a family to relocate their beloved pony or lifelong companion – especially when they had previously enquired about flying it only to discover that the cost was outside their budget and they were faced with the reality that they may have to leave their friend behind.

Sea Horse Sea Freight usually ship out of Auckland or Tauranga, so why did they choose to use Port Taranaki for this shipment?
“New Plymouth was the last New Zealand port of call for the Tasman Orient vessel, so that reduced the time the horses were in transit – a major factor. It also made the planning and loading operations much easier for the shipping company.”

And will we be seeing more horses through Port Taranaki in the future?

“I hope so – the client seems to be very keen, so we just have to hope that these two horses leave good enough progeny which will encourage him to buy more New Zealand stallions in the future.

We do have another interesting shipment coming up later in the year – Alpacas to Taiwan, although these will be leaving from Tauranga not Taranaki.

This export is proving to be a real challenge as Taiwan have never had Alpacas before, so they are treating them with great caution – but we love a challenge!

Port Taranaki News

Contact us for more information on sea transport for your horse.