Export volumes among highest on record

The Hawke’s Bay harvest is in full swing, with Napier Port processing some of its highest export volumes in the past decade.

“Last month was the busiest April ever with 28,513 twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) containers handled over the port’s wharves,” said Napier Port CEO Garth Cowie.

“That’s off the back of a busy March where monthly volumes were the second highest on record.”

Apple numbers have also started strongly and the port expects to process somewhere between 21,000 and 22,000 TEU over the course of the season, up 4 to 6 percent on last year’s record crop.

“At the end of last week, we had processed 8,860 TEUs of apples, which is a record for this point in the season,” said Mr Cowie.

“We are also seeing growth across a number of other major export sectors – forestry, viticulture, and horticulture. Over the next decade, we expect significant growth in the bulk and breakbulk areas as well, with log volumes forecast to increase from 1.1 million tonnes to around 2.4 million tonnes by 2025.”

A vehicle booking system implemented late last year, along with a number of other initiatives, has eliminated the congestion issues seen in 2014 and allowed the port to operate more efficiently.

“Operations are running smoothly. While the number of trucks coming through our gates has doubled since January, we haven’t seen any increase in truck turnaround times. On average we are taking around 10 minutes to process each truck from entry to exit,” said Mr Cowie.

With containers already stacked six high and growth in cargo volumes expected to continue, the port has its eye on future capacity. Planning for a new wharf, to handle the projected cargo growth, is underway.

“Napier Port is a critical link between our local producers and world markets, and future-proofing that link is vital for our regional economy,” Mr Cowie said.

“The proposed wharf will ensure we are able to handle the projected volume growth in the future and allow for the larger vessels should they decide to call at Napier.”

“The future berth development will see the continuation of a cost effective supply chain for our local importers and exporters through Napier Port.”