Ports of Auckland (POAL) has detailed plans to take on major competitor Port of Tauranga’s (POT) catchment in the Bay of Plenty region.
Timing its news just 24 hours ahead of the release of POT’s annual results, POAL revealed that its third inland port will be located right on POT’s doorstep at Mt Maunganui in Tauranga. It will be run in a new relationship with Australasian logistics company Toll Group.
Like POT’s Metroport in Auckland’s industrial heartland, the new POAL freight hub will link Auckland and Tauranga by rail.
It will open at the end of the year, offering container handling facilities and ‘other value-added logistics services’.
Cargo offloaded by shipping lines in Auckland and destined for Bay of Plenty and adjacent areas, will be railed to POAL Tauranga for onward distribution, with the process repeated in reverse for export cargo being railed to Auckland for shipment.
Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson said the new hub was “part of a concerted strategy to invest in a network of freight hubs or inland ports across North Island to improve shipping options for New Zealand exporters, reduce their costs, and retain POAL’s position as New Zealand’s leading container port by volume and productivity”.
In the 2013/14 financial year POAL handled 968,000 teu, against POT’s 759,000 teu.
POT chief executive Mark Cairns told IHS Maritime he couldn’t complain about the development and potential competitive threat. He pointed to Port of Tauranga’s 16 years of efficient operation of its Auckland IP Metroport, which earlier this month opened a new inland port in Port of Lyttelton’s South Island catchment.