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Tauranga port invests in dredging, expansion to handle 6,000-TEU ships

NEW ZEALAND's largest container port of Tauranga is more than half-finished with a US$228 million project that will enable it to accommodate ships of 6,000 TEU from the 4,500 TEUers today. 

Tauranga port invests in dredging, expansion to handle 6,000-TEU ships
12 August 2015 - 21:46
Tauranga port invests in dredging, expansion to handle 6,000-TEU ships

NEW ZEALAND's largest container port of Tauranga is more than half-finished with a US$228 million project that will enable it to accommodate ships of 6,000 TEU from the 4,500 TEUers today. 

The works include dredging the harbour at a cost of $46.3 million, in a bid to attract cargo away from the port of Auckland. 

The port is spending $70 million to widen and deepen the channels to the harbour to 47.5 feet from 42.2 feet inside the harbour and to 51.8 feet from 42.3 feet outside the harbour. 

It is also extending the Sulphur Point container berth, and buying new tugs, cranes and straddle carriers, reported IHS Maritime News.

To generate greater cargo for the port, a 10-year agreement as signed in June 2014 with Kotahi, the freight management company owned by major New Zealand dairy exporter Fonterra and meat exporter Silver Fern Farms that committed Kotahi to providing 1.8 million TEU in exports from Tauranga.

At the same time, Maersk Line entered a 10-year accord under which Kotahi committed to provide 2.5 million TEU of export cargo to the Danish carrier. In return, Maersk agreed to introduce a new service and add capacity.

The deal is worth $3.3 million to $3.9 million, with Tauranga gaining secure container volume, an additional 30,000 TEU from the start of the 2015 financial year, and additional empties and was Maersk's first 10-year collaboration. 

The carrier hopes to introduce 6,500-TEU ships at the end of 2016, when dredging to accommodate them will be completed.

The port authority's chief executive Mark Cairns pointed out that the real gains for Tauranga start from 2017. "That's when Maersk brings in the bigger ships, at which time all the containers will come around the coast to our Tauranga container terminal and out of here on to the big ships," he said.

Container volume in the first half of the port's fiscal 2015 ending in June rose by 11.9 per cent year on year to 426,512 TEU.

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