New Zealand Readies for Biggest Container Ship Visit
The biggest container ship to sail to New Zealand will start calling on the Port of Tauranga from September.
Maersk’s Triple Star service is being extended from South America to North Asia, and Tauranga will be included on the route. The 9,500 TEU ship to visit in September will be around double the capacity of the vessels that regularly call to New Zealand.
The Port of Tauranga is New Zealand’s largest freight gateway. Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns told local media that New Zealand had not traditionally had enough cargo to merit big ship visits, but the South America to China route will enable the country to piggyback off the needs of bigger exporters.
The route means the ship won't pass through the Torres Straight but rather head straight up to North Asia.
Local exporters are showing interest in both a direct service to China and quicker access to South America. Currently it takes taking around 40 days to reach South America, but the new service will reduce that to 16 days. Fresh produce, typical of New Zealand exports, are expected to be shipped.
Port of Tauranga has spent $350 million revamping its infrastructure to cater for the bigger ships, and dredging works are expected to be completed in August. The Port has expanded landside capacity at the Tauranga Container Terminal and also ordered two new container cranes and thirteen new straddle carriers, which are scheduled for delivery by September. The port is also focusing harder on making freight on land more efficient, working with KiwiRail to meet an increase in cargo between Tauranga and Auckland, says New Zealand media outlet Stuff.
Meanwhile, the Port has agreed a 10 year freight deal with kiwifruit exporters Zespri International and Tauranga Kiwifruit Logistics, which will see a long term approach taken to investing in cool storage and port operations to cope with the expected growth in the kiwifruit industry.