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Rival ports join forces online

Published: 9:05PM Friday September 14, 2012 Source: ONE News

New Zealand's two largest container ports, Auckland and Tauranga, have been competing for business for years but are now planning to launch a joint online venture.

The two ports have announced they are forming a single web portal, called PortConnect, to manage container shipping.

"This is the first project of its kind in New Zealand and it is only fitting that the two largest ports in the country work together to provide leadership in the industry," said Mark Cairns, Chief Executive of the Port of Tauranga.

He said PortConnect would make supply chain management more efficient and cut costs for shipping companies using the ports.

Ports of Auckland Chief Executive Tony Gibson said the two ports would still be competing for business.

"With this project, we have buried our historical differences to work collaboratively whilst still remaining fiercely competitive."

Other ports in New Zealand will be able to use the portal once it is up and running, expected by September 28.

The Port of Tauranga saw a record profit for the year ending June 30, partly driven by industrial action at Auckland's port as well as the introduction of new shipping services.

Tauranga is now expanding its cargo-handling capacity.

The long-running dispute between Ports of Auckland, owned by Auckland Council, and the Maritime Union of New Zealand over the dock workers' employment agreement is in court-ordered mediation.