Containers stacked

Container export volumes stable

While COVID-19 has continued to hold back growth in the container business, volumes have remained stable overall.

This year container numbers have been similar to last year’s, with a 1 percent increase in TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) handled by the port.

The expectations for growth this year have not been met, with container numbers 20 percent below budget due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and disruption in the supply chain.

Throughout the uncertainty and instability of this period for the freight sector, CentrePort has kept its focus on providing a reliable service to our customers.

“While container shipping is severely disrupted, I think one of the great things Wellington has provided is stability. Despite all the issues, our team has kept those trains and trucks full and running, and our customers’ needs have been met. We’ve got customers who feel our people work for them rather than us, and I think that’s the greatest compliment a customer can pay you.”

– Andrew Locke, GM Commercial.

The port’s reinstated rail onto port facility and the strengthening and expansion of the Thorndon Container Wharf have set us up with a good platform for future growth in the container business once supply chain disruptions settle.

The container operation will be further enhanced by the Thorndon Container Wharf reinstatement project, due for completion in early 2022.

Emergency repairs following the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake reinstated 126 metres of container crane operational length. The current project will increase that to 261 metres, which will increase the efficiency of container exchanges, boosting productivity.

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A top port

Brent Falvey, Head of Logistics at ANZCO, says the CentrePort container service is a cut above.

Aerial view of CentrePort

The team at CentrePort are great to work with. ANZCO operates meat processing works and cool stores throughout the country and we export beef and lamb to more than 80 countries. Each year we send around 10,500 containers through New Zealand ports to our markets.

We work closely with the CentrePort commercial team. One of their functions is to look after the empty equipment and they are always on top of things. If there’s a problem they’re very approachable and will help us to resolve it and they always do what they say they’re going to do.

We work with all ports in New Zealand and CentrePort would be one of the top ports to deal with.

Most ports say, “Here’s a container, come and get it, fill it up and bring it back to us,” but CentrePort takes a different approach. It has external hubs in the central North Island and we provide shipping forecasts to them, so we can be confident that empty containers will be available for us at the hubs when we need them. It’s great that CentrePort takes that extra step to help us manage our supply chain.

During all the shipping disruptions this year we’ve had to be very reactive, which has meant reorganising things numerous times just to get a shipping container away. CentrePort has been very helpful in this, such as by liaising with shipping lines and arranging pretripping so that we know when empty containers are arriving.

The CentrePort team is proactive – they jump on problems and support our logistics along the supply chain – they make it easier for us.

I support CentrePort’s regeneration because the more successful they are the more shipping they will attract to the port, which will give us additional access and flexibility to ship to more markets.