26 May 2021

Tauranga port ships off record number of containers

11:25 am on 26 May 2021

A record number of shipping containers departed the Port of Tauranga on Monday as the port works to clear supply chain backlogs.

Container ship in commercial port of Napier, New Zealand.

File photo. Photo: 123rf

The port in partnership with shipping company Maersk and logistics company Kotahi is working to unlock New Zealand's congested export supply chain.

On Monday a record lift of 5326 containers: of which 1914 were refrigerated were loaded on the Maersk Shams bound for export markets.

Another ship due in port next month, Sally Maersk is set to pick up a similar amount of containers.

Kotahi chief executive David Ross said exporters were seeing constant schedule slippage, loss of capacity and shortages of containers from lengthening cycle times as the global supply chain disruption continued.

He said the strong partnership with Maersk and Port of Tauranga was creating additional capacity to export New Zealand goods to global markets.

Maersk Oceania managing director Henrik Jensen said the all-time record loading of refrigerated cargo on the Maersk Shams was a great testament to Maersk's ability to overcome significant supply chain disruption and to support our New Zealand customers no matter the challenge.

"Over the past eight months we have deployed additional assets, both by introducing additional container shipping services to the country and significantly increasing empty container positioning around the New Zealand coast, despite the global shortage of empty containers and restricted vessel availability."

Napier Port expects shipping delays, storage issues and the shortage of containers to continue for the next 12 to 18 months.

The company yesterday reported its half-year profit had fallen about 15 percent to $10.6 million, although the previous year was inflated by one-off tax gains.

Chief executive Todd Dawson said the port was still feeling the effects of disrupted supply chains and shipping services, with 26 container ships missing scheduled calls.

"What we are seeing at the moment is that there is some inventory build-up because of supply chain disruption where inventory is sitting in sheds particular in the timber side of the business.

"What we are expecting is when that inventory starts to flow there'll be an extended tail to our busiest season," he said.

Dawson said there were a lot of cool stores and freezers across the lower North Island full of apples and meat ready for export.

Over time that volume would connect with containers and shipping but clearing the backlog would take time, he said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs