Ports of Auckland firms up supply chain with logistics joint venture

Ports of Auckland, the ocean hub of the country's biggest city, is extending its control over the national supply chain in a joint venture with privately held transport and logistics firm Netlogix.

The two Auckland-based companies will set up Nexus Logistics to provide logistics and distribution services across the country, including to the port company's competitors, they said in a statement. As part of the deal, Ports of Auckland will put its subsidiary Conlinxx, which manages the Wiri inland port, into the joint venture.

"This investment provides us with a conduit to truly engage with cargo owners, while investing in the supply chain to reduce wasted capacity," Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson said. "There is an incredible amount of potential in the New Zealand supply chain that is not realised because of the widely acknowledged inefficiency of empty truck and container movements out of import dominant Auckland to meet export container requirements."

The move is the latest in Auckland's bid to expand its footprint across the country, having teamed up with Napier Port and logistics firm Icepak to develop an inland port and freight hub in Palmerston North and expand rail services between its Wiri hub and Waitemata seaport. After operations were disrupted by strikes in 2012, Auckland has lifted volumes in each of the past two years.

Gibson said the Nexus joint venture is the latest step in creating a geographically broader and more efficient supply chain

"With Nexus Logistics, we're connecting the dots - our partnership with Napier Port and Icepak at Longburn, the new cold store with Polarcold at Wiri and we're also well advanced working with parties to create a crossdock facility at Wiri," he said.

Netlogix chief executive Chinthaka Abeywickrama said developing the Wiri freight hub and improving the mix of road, rail and coastal transport will create a more efficient flow of cargo across the country.