Senior Management

Phil Melhopt 

Phil Melhopt, Chief Executive

Phil joined PrimePort as Chief Executive in December 2014.  Phil has held Chief Executive roles in both local government and state owned enterprise sectors.  His background also includes logistics and sales management in both the forestry and FMCG sectors.  Phil was the inaugural chairman of the Otago Rural Fire Authority and has an active interest in rural fire management.

Nick Donaldson 

Nick Donaldson, Finance Manager

Nick joined PrimePort in January 2012.  Nick brings strong commercial, financial and project analysis to existing activities and development opportunities.  He is responsible for overall management of the accounting, administration, finance and IT areas of the company.  He was involved in the company's alliance with Port of Tauranga in December 2013.

Prior to joining PrimePort, Nick has had senior financial accounting roles with HC Partners and BDO in New Zealand.

Nick is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand and the Institute of Directors.

Tony Cooper

Tony Cooper, Infrastructure Manager

Tony joined PrimePort in 2015.  He is a Professional Civil Engineer with over 35 years' civil engineering and business management experience, including senior management roles within Fletcher Building, Rail and Mining Industry and Engineering Consultancy.  His extensive engineering experience includes Rail Asset Management, Bridge Design and Construction, the construction of Port Infrastructure, Dams, Tunnels, Water Treatment Plants and Pipelines.  In recent years Tony has been engaged as the Project Manager/Director of various high value / high profile business and engineering projects in NZ and overseas.

Tony is tasked to provide fit for purpose infrastructure assets for PrimePort.

Kerry Elstone

Kerry Elstone, Health & Safety Manager

Kerry joined PrimePort in May 2015.  Kerry has worked for Fulton Hogan, Firth Industries and Milmeq Ltd.  He brings with him a broad range of experience in production management, general engineering, hard rock quarrying, concrete masonry manufacture, quality and safety auditing and health and safety management.


Kevin Beeby, Operations Manager

After completing a carpentry apprenticeship with a local building firm, Kevn worked at the Timaru Harbour Board for seven years during the 1990's.  After leaving and working for the family business, Kevin returned to the Port where he worked as a Stevedore, Machine Operator and Carpenter in early 2000.  The Port of Timaru became PrimePort Timaru in 2002 whereby Kevin took up the role of Operations Supervisor, in 2017 Kevin moved into his current position of Operations Manager.


Grant Bicknell, Marine Manager

Grant joined PrimePort in October 2017.  Grant brings strong operational planning, leadership and management skills from the Royal New Zealand Navy.  He is responsible for the oversight of the management of the Port's Marine Operations.


Ben Kleinjan, Port Engineering Manager

Ben joined PrimePort in August 2018.  Ben brings a strong practical engineering approach to maintaining aging Port infrastructure.  Ben has spent the past three years providing asset condition inspections and structural assessments to PrimePort's wharf structures.

He brings enthusiasm and experience in developing technical solutions to complex problems.  Ben has experience in civil and structure engineering after spending 10 years with OPUS International Consultants Ltd.  Ben is tasked with providing PrimePort with fit for purpose assets and planning for future infrastructure development.