Napier benefits from Auckland dock strike, quarterly box volume up 9pc

2012 02 29

NEW ZEALAND's Port of Napier - benefiting from Auckland's dock strike - has reported a nine per cent year-on-year increase in fourth quarter container volume as full-year volume went up to six per cent to 191,000 TEU.

Strike-bound Auckland continues to divert traffic to its rivals Tauranga and Napier with the giant diary cooperative Fonterra's diverting its 500-700 TEU weekly exports away from Auckland, splitting it between its two rivals in unknown proportions.

Labour trouble in Auckland is expected to improve Napier profit. Thus far, annual operating profit has increased 10.5 per cent to NZ$$2.76 million (US$2.31 million) year on year.

Fonterra business accounts to NZ$$27 million a week. "Obviously, the port is working aggressively to secure these gains long term," Napier port CEO Garth Cowie told Fairfax NZ News.

Mr Cowie said exports increased - despite a strengthening New Zealand dollar - through December to 913,000 tonnes, an increase of 10 per cent with forest products accounting for 40 per cent of throughput.

But container handling efficiency was down compared to rivals at 22.8 TEU per hour by crane with Auckland slightly ahead at 25.1, Wellington at 30.4 and Tauranga beating all at 34.8.

But Mr Cowie said port productivity was more than speed of loading and through its mobile cranes and policy of no work stoppage, it can increase efficiency elsewhere.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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