Steve Walker, Chief Operating Officer at China Forestry Group New Zealand
Customer story

Supporting our growth

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Steve Walker, Chief Operating Officer at China Forestry Group New Zealand, describes how CentrePort works alongside the company to find solutions and support its business.

We’ve been a customer of the port for five years now and have built up a really positive relationship – especially with the people in the bulk commodities team.

We’re a forestry and wood products company and we own or lease around 10,000 hectares of forest in the lower North Island. Most of the logs we export from this area go through CentrePort.

Like many of us, CentrePort has faced some real challenges in the past few years with the earthquake and the pandemic. But staff there have really bent over backwards to keep businesses like ours functioning.

In the past five years the volumes of logs harvested have maybe tripled, and this increase coincided with the earthquake. So it’s been a real journey with CentrePort to make things work.

Our company has grown to be one of the biggest log exporters in the country and CentrePort has helped enable that growth.

Despite our export volumes going up so much, we have seen a more seamless operation at CentrePort recently – it’s made a lot of improvements and we’re reaping the benefits. Now there are fewer delays at CentrePort than at any other port in New Zealand – it’s probably the most efficient port we deal with in terms of turning ships.

It’s not just about improvements to infrastructure at the port, it’s also about people and attitudes. CentrePort has a great team and we’ve been able to work together in a lot of situations. We’ve built up mutual trust and can rely on each other to do what we say we’re going to do. And when things don’t go to plan, we’re both prepared to work through the compromises.

CFG and other forestry companies ask a lot of the team at CentrePort. There’s competition for space at the port, so having a reliable transport system that works for everyone involves huge amounts of collaboration and compromise across clients. CentrePort does a really good job of facilitating this and finding solutions that are fair to everyone.