Maersk chooses Auckland as New Zealand hub ahead of Tauranga
Maersk Line has selected the Port of Auckland as its hub in New Zealand, costing rival Port of Tauranga an estimated 4,600 containers and NZ$1 million ($670,000) per month.
“Naturally we are very disappointed at Maersk’s decision to concentrate the bulk of its business at Ports of Auckland,” said Mark Cairns, Port of Tauranga chief executive.
“We priced our offer on the basis of providing a long-term sustainable option, which we understood Maersk was seeking,” Cairns said.
The Maersk services to call Auckland, due to be phased in from mid-January are:
* New South East Asia Service calling Auckland on a weekly basis, as well as Napier and Port Chalmers.
* Oceania U.S. East Coast Service, calling Auckland on a weekly basis (previously just westbound), as well as New Plymouth, Timaru and Port Chalmers.
* Pacific Island and Feeder Service for exporters and importers calling Auckland on a weekly basis, as well as Lyttelton, Nelson, Wellington, Tauranga, and fortnightly to the Pacific Islands.
In October, faced with industry consolidation and fewer services calling to the country, the two ports announced merger talks and a joint entity is hoped to become operational in the first half of next year.
Ports of Auckland Managing Director Geoff Vazey said: “The decision by Maersk to change their North Island calling patterns is not unexpected, in so far as shipping lines regularly review their port call schedules and we expect that this is a practice that will continue.”
“This decision by Maersk underscores the importance for New Zealand of port rationalization. A merger between the Port of Tauranga and Ports of Auckland would ensure further port and supply chain efficiencies by curtailing the practice of over-investment in under-utilized port plant and infrastructure,” Vazey said.
“We are currently putting a lot of effort into merger discussions, and Maersk’s decision is obviously neutral to the merged business entity,” Cairns said. “It is not a short-term strategy in the face of one customer contract negotiation — it is part of a long-term strategy to rationalize the overcapacity in New Zealand ports and strengthen New Zealand’s supply chain.”