Port of Tauranga heads to court over NZL plans

As expected, Port of Tauranga (PTL) has started legal proceedings against freight logistics company NZL Group over its plans to re-establish a container terminal on the site.

In July, NZL subsidiary, Sulphur Point Container Terminal, submitted a six-step plan, which allowed for its own terminal to be running by January, 2010.

Prior to that, in December, NZL lodged a claim to re-establish marshalling operations at Sulphur Point and withdrew from negotiations to renew a service contract agreement with Port of Tauranga.

NZL Group, which was purchased from P&O Containers in 2006, operated its own container terminal at the port prior to 2004. In then merged its terminal with that of PTL in an arrangement that saw NZL provide labour and machinery to the operation.

The five-year contract expired and the two parties were unable to reach a commercial arrangement moving forward.

NZL believed it has a right to re-establish a full service container terminal at Sulphur Point because of a “backstop: clause in the original merger contract.

PTL sees it differently and is seeking a declaratory judgement from the High Court. A declaratory judgement is sought when one party requires the court to explain their rights and responsibilities.

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