Port investing in expansion

The Port of Tauranga is set to buy a seventh ship-to-store gantry crane for its Sulphur Point fleet in order to allow it to handle growing container volumes at the port.

The port is also planning to expand its fleet of straddle carriers and increase the capacity of its rail terminal.

Today’s announcement adds to the almost $150 million worth of capital works already underway or planned at the terminal.

These works include a 170 metre wharf extension and a sixth gantry crane, which has been on order from manufacturer Liebherr for delivery early next year.

Port of Tauranga CEO Mark Cairns says the ongoing investment in infrastructure will help maintain and enhance port’s world class container handling productivity.

“Since the middle of last year, we have secured seven new shipping services, which will underpin the growth in container volumes into the future.

“It’s vital to us we maintain and enhance our customer service and productivity, and we need to invest in the equipment and people required to do that.”

Reorganisation of the rail sidings at Sulphur Point over the next few months will also create space to allow two trains at once to be safely and quickly loaded and unloaded.

The sidings are used by trains servicing MetroPort, Port of Tauranga’s inland port in Auckland, as well as general freight trains delivering cargo to the port.

Mark says container volumes through MetroPort increased 10.8 per cent in the six months to December 2011.

He says overall, container numbers handled by Port of Tauranga increased by 17.1 per cent, with a 40 per cent increase in transhipped containers (cargo transferred between domestic and international services at Tauranga).

Capital works planned or recently completed at the terminal as part of a three year expansion plan include:

*The addition of the sixth and seventh Liebherr gantry cranes (due for delivery early 2013 and early 2014 respectively). The cranes will be able to service ships up to 18 containers wide.

*Conversion of one of the existing cranes to become twin-lift capable.

*The commissioning of six new twin-lift straddle carriers this month, bringing our fleet to 31, including, 10 twin-lift capable straddles which will bring further productivity gains.

*A 170-metre extension to the Sulphur Point wharves, due for full completion early 2013.

*Dredging to deepen and widen the Port s shipping channels to accommodate larger ships (subject to final High Court approval).

*The creation of an additional 1,200 container slots, created via the sealing of 3.6 hectares of

container storage land, as well as reorganisation of the existing terminal layout. The additional slots include an extra 400 powered slots for refrigerated containers, a 40 per cent increase in capacity.

*Increasing the capacity of the Sulphur Point rail sidings so that two trains can be serviced


*Other maintenance and improvements, including strengthening works at the Mount Maunganui general cargo wharves.

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