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Port of Tauranga paid tribute to logistics industry figure Simon Tapper today as it announced the purchase of Tapper Transport for $15 million.
Mr Tapper died yesterday after a period of ill health.
Aucklanders are familiar with the Tapper Transport business even though it is a privately owned company as its trucks shuttle freight between Ports of Auckland and Tapper Transport's container freight station at Onehunga.
Ports of Auckland managing director Jens Madsen said today Mr Tapper's death was sad news.
"Simon has been a prime mover in logistics and transport for many many years. He was hugely respected, we had a close relationship with him and he will be sorely missed," Mr Madsen said.
Graeme Marshall, commercial manager at Port of Tauranga, said Mr Tapper was a real icon in the logistics industry.
"Even competitors would have a huge amount of respect for in the way he has brought the industry together," he said.
Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said his company had hoped to make a joint announcement with Mr Tapper and it was his family's wish that they proceed with the announcement today.
"Only days ago he was so looking forward to today. In his mind, he had regarded it as a perfect closure for a career in the freight business that he was so passionate about," Mr Cairns said.
Tapper Transport is based in Onehunga where the Southdown rail hub is and where Metroport, Port of Tauranga's so-called inland port, is located.
Mr Cairns said the acquisition would enable the port to develop MetroPort as an integrated freight centre and distribution hub.
Tapper Transport has a sophisticated software system it developed in house, and it operated a large container freight station where containers were packed and unpacked. It has storage for 500 full containers.
Port of Tauranga had been considering investing in this kind of facility at its MetroPort site in Auckland.
Tapper Transport was owned by Simon Tapper, Chris Tapper and Andrew Scott. It has been operating since 1986.
Mr Cairns said a pan-Auckland transport rate was charged on container movements within the city, and Port of Tauranga would work with customers to prices that reflected the costs of different container movements.
"We think we can generate efficiencies and the cost to move a box will reflect the distances carted," Mr Cairns said.
When asked how the port would work with a company now owned by a rival, Ports of Auckland's Mr Madsen said the port worked constructively with all transport operators on an equal footing.