Northport upgrades container-handling capability
22 January 2020
Northport Ltd has purchased its second harbour mobile crane to support a growing container trade and to provide increased resilience for dedicated container vessels using the port. The company has also acquired a $250,000 crane simulator from CM Labs and two new Kalmar terminal tractors to move containers to and from shipside.
The Konecranes Gottwald Model 6 Mobile Harbour Crane (G HMK 6507 variant) can serve container vessels up to post-Panamax class. Its maximum lifting capacity of 125 tons extends Northport’s flexibility in handling general and heavy cargo. The crane can be operated with an external power source, giving Northport the ability to use back-up power options and complying with the New Zealand government’s strict guidelines for sustainable energy use.
The Marsden Point Facility currently supports Swire Shipping’s North Asia, South-East Asia and Trans-Tasman services, as well as a direct coastal service to and from Lyttelton and an MSC call focused on kiwifruit exports but with the potential to service worldwide imports and exports. These latest acquisitions will boost considerably the port’s container-handling capabilities and facilitate an increasing focus on new shipping options.
Chief executive Jon Moore said the new equipment was needed “here and now” to meet current container traffic requirements and was not dependent on any future port expansion.
The crane simulator will join Northport’s ship simulator located in the port’s on-site training facility.
“This investment in container-handling capability is a tangible demonstration of the growth of our business,” Mr Moore said. “It’s a visual reminder that we’re doing everything we said we would when we acquired our first crane in 2015.”
He said Northport’s container-handling capability had reduced freight and handling costs incurred by Northland exporters and importers currently using the facilities. Businesses across the region were starting to realise the economic and environmental benefits of Northport’s container-handling capabilities. In 2019 local businesses shipped 13,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) through the port, with contents ranging from fruit and timber products through to bulk cement.
Over recent years the port has expanded its paved storage areas, reefer (refrigerated container) capacity, as well as plant and equipment to accommodate the growth in containers, project cargo and bulk cargo volumes.
Northport, situated at Marsden Point at the mouth of Whangarei Harbour, is New Zealand’s northernmost deep-water port. It is a flexible facility catering for large, multi-purpose vessels and full cargo handling facilities are available from its 570-metre linear berth.
Logs, woodchip and processed timber for export comprise the bulk of cargo handled by the port. Recent investment in container handling equipment has seen an uptake in coastal and international container trade. Other export items include kiwifruit, dairy products and manufactured goods. Imports are an important part of Northport’s business and include fertiliser, gypsum, coal and palm kernel.