New Zealand’s largest freight gateway Port of Tauranga today announced that they are on track to become the first port in the country to transport more than one million containers across its wharves in a single year.
The port also announced a strong 8.5% improvement in Group half year net profit to $41.9 million from $38.6 million in the same period a year ago, as half year trade volumes grew 8% to 11.0 million tonnes and the port continued to set new national standards for port productivity.
Chief Executive, Mark Cairns, said: “We are consolidating our position as the port of choice for international shipping lines, with ship visits in the six-month period rising 4% to 774 from 741 in the same period last year.
“Following the completion of our harbor dredging program in September 2016, Maersk introduced a large vessel service, with Tauranga as its only New Zealand call. The 9,500 TEU Aotea Maersk has been a regular visitor since October.
“Meanwhile, Hamburg Sud last month announced it will introduce in March a big ship, peak season weekly service, with Tauranga as its only New Zealand call. The largest cruise ship ever to visit the Bay of Plenty – the 4,700 passenger, 1,600 crew Ovation of the Seas – also made its maiden voyage to Tauranga on Boxing Day and has made a couple of further calls since.
“It is pleasing to see shipping lines take advantage of the possibilities created by the harbor dredging program to bring in larger vessels. The economies of scale that come with larger ships drive transport efficiencies and ensure New Zealand exporters retain direct routes to international markets.
“With bigger ships calling at Tauranga, we are handling significantly larger volumes of cargo per shipment. We continue to lead the way in setting productivity standards for the New Zealand port industry and we strive to look at all aspects of the container terminal operations to ensure that we remain cost-effective.”
During the half year period, Port of Tauranga invested $43.9 million in new infrastructure to further increase storage capacity and productivity. The investments included final payments on the two new gantry cranes commissioned, thirteen new straddle carriers and several property developments at the container terminal.
A new purpose-built shed is nearing completion and will be used by Oji Fibre Solutions (formerly Carter Holt Harvey) as a distribution hub, clearing the way for Oji’s former facility to be demolished and new container slots established to further enhance container terminal efficiency.