Storm Gabrielle: damage to road, rail sparks interest in coastal option

April 17, 2023

Northport had no calls booked for Auckland-bound container cargo at the time of Storm Gabrielle so the damage to road and rail infrastructure between Auckland and Whangarei has not resulted in cancelled calls or any drop in planned or forecast container throughput. There has been no impact to the regular Northport coastal shipping and international services offered by CMA, MSC, Pacifica and Swire.

However, the damage has prompted significant new interest from Northland importers and exporters in the potential for coastal shipping services. Since the storm some of these companies have used Northport for the first time to connect with international services or reach other parts of New Zealand and we look forward to developing these relationships. 

In this context Pacifica's decision to enhance port-time and capacity on its coastal service operated by m.v. Moana Chief, by changing the number of ports visited by this service from four to three per week (while retaining the frequency of its calls here at Northport) is important and welcome.

The damage to road and rail infrastructure between Auckland and Whangarei does highlight the importance of modern, future-proofed road and rail connections to a resilient, geographically-astute, three-port supply-chain strategy for the Upper North Island. We look forward to continuing our work with customers servicing the Auckland market as soon as road and rail links are fully restored.