Great news from our own backyard! Northport in Marsden Point has officially become a container port, in a new direct shipping service involving Northport, Whangarei, Brisbane and Singapore; with the first all-container service leaving just a few weeks ago. This is great news for local suppliers, importers and exporters with a fortnightly seasonal run being offered to greatly improve sea freight transit times. Where normally goods would have to be trucked to Auckland, then sent by train to the Port of Tauranga, before being loaded onto sea freight, the new setup of shipping direct from the closer port will vastly improve profits of those who grow the fruit from Northland’s forty million kiwifruit industry.

Many local businesses have signed up to partake in the new service – including local kiwifruit growers and also manufacturers of timber products. Not only does this freight expansion improve transit times, it will also improve the local roads, with much of the truck and trailer trips diminishing off the south roads of Whangarei, with officials expecting less traffic and driving related incidents.

The possibilities for the regions industries are endless, says Northport’s commercial manager David Finchett, who has urged Northland businesses to engage and explore what this can do for them. Their aim is to build the volumes of cargo with consistently demonstrated demand, to the point where the new service will become a regular weekly service instead of seasonal or fortnightly.

Chief executive officer of Northland’s economic development agency Northland Inc, David Wilson, says that the new sea freight linking directly with international markets presents a significant growth opportunity for the economy. “Until now many Northland businesses have had to incur cost and time penalties to either bring things in through or ship products out of, other ports. Links like this one, using our very own local port, bring new levels of competitive advantage to Northland and should be both welcomed and supported by local business owners,” Wilson said. This could mean a saving of two thirds the original cost per pallet for kiwifruit growers, simply from not having to pay truck transport.

Bring on the savings and possibilities for Northland!

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