Ports of Auckland to open BoP freight hub with Toll, Triton Pacific

The port operator is expanding its network to Mount Maunganui with an intermodal freight hub.

Ports of Auckland, the country's second largest port by volume, plans to open a freight hub in the Bay of Plenty near its major rival in Tauranga, in a deal with logistics firm Toll Holdings and land owner Triton Pacific.

The port operator is expanding its network to Mount Maunganui with an intermodal freight hub, adding to sites in South Auckland and Manawatu, it said in a statement. The 1.4 hectare site will be developed by Triton Pacific and operated by Toll. The land is next to a rail siding and will be developed to include a rail connection. It should be operating by the end of the year.

"The development of Ports of Auckland's third intermodal freight hub, or inland port as they are sometimes called, is part of a concerted strategy to invest in a network of freight hubs across the North Island to both improve options for New Zealand exporters, reduce their costs, and maintain Ports of Auckland's position as New Zealand's leading container port by volume and productivity," chief executive Tony Gibson said. "It also enables us to reduce excessive empty container movements and better balance the volume of exported goods with imported goods through our port."

Auckland is predominantly an import port, servicing the Auckland market and surrounding areas.

The Auckland and Tauranga ports have looked at merging their operations twice over the past decade, but that ultimately fell through when the parties weren't able to agree on how to proceed. Since then, they have been locked in intense competition, and more recently have been extending their national reach through deals with smaller hubs and logistics groups to tie up New Zealand's flow of freight, largely through inland hubs.

Earlier this month Ports of Auckland signalled plans to expand its wharf operations in the country's biggest city by stacking containers higher after plans to expand wharves into the harbour were thwarted. The port operator also intends to increase its use of automated technology to move cargo, which it expects will cost about 50 jobs.

(BusinessDesk)

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