Maersk Line strikes 10-year New Zealand deal

Maersk Line and New Zealand’s freight and logistics management firm Kotahi have struck a strategic long term deal that will allow bigger ships to call at New Zealand and start a new ocean freight service.

Under the deal, Kotahi will commit to provide up to 2.5 million TEU export cargo containers to Maersk Line for the next 10 years, starting 1 August 2014.

A separate deal also saw Kotahi and freight gateway Port of Tauranga entered into a strategic ten-year freight alliance. The deal will see Kotahi provide up to 1.8 million TEU export cargo containers to the Port of Tauranga over the next 10 years, commencing 1 August 2014 as well.

In return, Port of Tauranga will invest in infrastructure to enable visits from the larger 6,500 TEU containerships within the next few years, and issue shares to Kotahi to take a stake in Timaru Container Terminal, where Kotahi has committed significant export cargo to the terminal for the next 10 years.

“New Zealand doesn’t have a big ship capable port and now is the right time for key players to work together to build a capability within New Zealand to receive these large vessels with all the efficiencies they will bring to New Zealand,” said Chris Greenough, chief executive of Kotahi.

“These ships will ensure New Zealand does not become a spoke to the larger hubs across the Tasman, which would add seven to 10 days to export transit times,” he added.

Mark Cairns, chief executive of Port of Tauranga, said: “The cargo commitments give Port of Tauranga the certainty to proceed with the infrastructure to accommodate the 6,500 TEU ships.

“Our ability to accommodate the next generation of large ships will also address New Zealand’s disadvantages in international export markets, including the country’s distance from major transport routes and its relatively small and dispersed freight volumes,” Cairns said.

Under the new long term contract with Kotahi, Maersk Line will commit to introduce a new 4,500-TEU service from October this year to Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia to provide additional capacity, and complement the current Northern Star and Southern Star services.

“We now have a clear path to work on the introduction of Maersk Line’s 6,500 TEU vessels to New Zealand. These ships are significantly more fuel efficient on a per- container basis and will reduce the carbon footprint of the ocean freight component of New Zealand exports by approximately 22% per container unit, compared to the existing New Zealand industry average,” said Gerard Morrison, managing director of Maersk Line New Zealand.