We welcome genuine media enquiries and will do our best to provide requested information promptly and efficiently.

For media enquiries please contact:

Peter Heath
Due North Public Relations
P: 021 456 089

June 6, 2024

The hearing into Northport’s Resource Consent application concluded on Tuesday this week (4 June), some 20 months after the application was lodged and about eight months after proceedings began with a range of verbal submissions at Semenoff Stadium in Whangārei and at Takahiwai Marae.

The panel of independent commissioners, led by Commissioner Greg Hill, now has the task of reviewing the evidence and submissions presented during the process. Northport anticipates that a decision about the application will be made at some point in Q3 this year.

This has been a lengthy,...

February 4, 2024

The first scheduled cruise ship to call at Whangārei berthed at Northport at 0700hrs today (Sunday 4 February), helping to cement the 2023/2024 cruise season as New Zealand’s biggest to date. Oceania Cruises’ MS Regatta, with about 650 passengers aboard, was the first of three cruise calls scheduled for the region this summer, with five more due over the 2024/2025 season and a further three in early 2026.

Regatta was welcomed to Whangārei-te-rerenga-parāoa (Whangārei harbour)...

March 15, 2023

The Port Health and Safety Leadership Group – made up of unions, ports and stevedoring companies, the Port Industry Association, Maritime NZ and WorkSafe NZ – has today released its advice to the Minister of Transport on how to make New Zealand ports safer.

The Port Sector Insights Picture and Action Plan was developed following the tragic deaths of two port workers in 2022, after which the Minister of Transport asked the Port Health and Safety Leadership Group for advice to address health and safety on ports.

Northport supports and endorses this announcement entirely. The...

February 24, 2023

Cargo operations resumed at Northport on Thursday last week following the port’s closure in the face of ex-tropical cyclone Gabrielle.

Repairs to a rock wall have been completed and one of the two Wave Rider buoys which lost their moorings in the exceptional swell generated by Storm Gabrielle has been put back in position. The second buoy is being serviced and will be re-positioned shortly.

A thorough visual sweep of the shipping channels in Whangārei Harbour has been conducted by the deputy harbourmaster in the pilot boat. Northport has also conducted hydrographic surveys to...

February 14, 2023

Northport advises that weather conditions in Northland in the wake of ex-tropical cyclone Gabrielle are expected to ease by 2100hrs today, allowing it open to port users from 0700hrs tomorrow (Wednesday 15 February) for the sole purpose of inspection, repairs and machinery maintenance.

The region continues to suffer rolling power and fibre blackouts, and numerous road closures. Freight and shipping operations will not resume until Thursday 16 February, giving the port and port users time to ensure the site is cleared, safe and ready.

Both of the port’s Wave Rider buoys, which...

February 13, 2023

Northport this morning took the decision to keep the port closed until at least 0700 on Wednesday (15 February) as a result of weather conditions created by ex-tropical cyclone Gabrielle’s path down the east coast of the upper North Island. The decision will be reviewed later today with a final call to be made no later than 1500.

All port users have been included in the decision-making process and have supported this decision. The safety and wellbeing of everyone working at the port is paramount.

The Northland harbourmaster closed Whangārei harbour to all commercial shipping...

July 20, 2022

An independent report into the social and economic potential of plans for growth at Northport says about 1,500 new jobs could be created in and around Marsden Point, in Whangārei and around the wider Northland region by expanding the container port. A proposed shipyard and floating drydock on the port’s western boundary could be the catalyst for another 1,135 new jobs in the area.

The report was developed by Polis Consulting Group for Northland regional economic development agency Northland Inc.

It estimates that the expanded container port would enable Northland to...

March 25, 2022

The Board of Northport Ltd has confirmed its intention to lodge its resource consent application for expansion at its eastern end, while continuing to develop plans for the proposed shipyard and dry-dock on its western side.

The eastern development covers 13 hectares for additional container storage, handling and transportation. It is where Northport proposes to integrate the port with KiwiRail’s proposed Marsden Point spur. This video  provides an overview of the work for which resource...

February 28, 2022

Northport has joined the PortConnect platform in a move to streamline its container management capability. The port is experiencing a significant increase in container calls and expects this to grow further in coming years.

The first step in Northport’s adoption of the PortConnect platform is the initial roll-out of the Clear Container module and support for automated Trade Single Window (TSW) messaging. Clear Container will enable shipping lines to submit line clearances for containers. The processing of TSW messages will reduce manual data entry, ensuring container information is...

February 15, 2022

A vessel normally used to transport cars and trucks will call at Northport tomorrow (16 February) to load approximately 5,000 cubic metres of triboard from the Juken Mill in Kaitaia. The m.v. Istra Ace has sailed from South America and is destined for Japan. She is scheduled to depart Northport late Thursday or early Friday.

The PCTC (Pure Car, Truck Carrier) is a purpose-built vessel for the transportation of different types of rolling cargo such as cars and trucks, heavy construction equipment and other substantial loads. These vessels are usually configured with 10-13 decks for...

June 15, 2021

Northport is to invest $8m in infrastructure needed to support the growth of container traffic through the port. It is buying container-handling equipment and a simulator module to train staff in its operation, expanding its container storage area and upgrading its lighting to enhance safety during 24-hour operations.

The company is forecasting a 15 percent year-on-year increase in the volume of container traffic for this financial year to the end of June.

It has placed orders for two new reach-stacker container handlers and a new dock-truck and MAFI trailer. These will...

June 4, 2021

Northport welcomes information released today by Waka Kotahi NZTA indicating that the government has instructed it to build a new rail link to Northport.

While current supply-chain issues impacting the country might be unprecedented, they demonstrate clearly the need for a resilient and geographically-astute Upper North Island Supply Chain strategy that makes best use of the three existing ports that already serve the region.

This in turn calls for continued central government investment in, and upgrading of, road, rail and coastal shipping infrastructure.


March 10, 2021

Whangarei District Council (WDC) is currently notifying relevant property owners, and anyone with a greater interest than the general public, about an alteration that we are proposing be made to Proposed Urban and Services District Plan Changes that were publicly notified in May of 2019.

In short, we believe that the changes that Council wants to make to the District Plan should include adoption of the national ‘Port Noise Standard’ used in best practice land-use planning elsewhere across New Zealand.

There is now a requirement under the recently-introduced National Planning...

March 8, 2021

Northport has an emergency exercise scheduled for this evening - from around 6.30pm-7pm onwards. Please don't be alarmed by emergency services activity at or around the port this evening - it will be part of the exercise.

December 12, 2020

Northport has reduced its container loading rate as of 1300hrs today (Saturday 12 December). Its forklift drivers have reached their maximum number of working hours under Northport’s fatigue management policy and only one forklift driver is able to remain on duty up until 1500hrs. This is the time at which Northport has been advising trucking companies since Wednesday this week that its container-loading operations would stop until 0600 on Monday 14 December.

“Our staff have been absolute heroes this week, with many pulling very long hours in an effort to get this mammoth job done...

December 5, 2020

At 11.10am today a fire broke out in the vicinity of the port conveyor system and some adjacent packets of LVL timber.

The Ruakaka Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Refining NZ Emergency Services team were called and responded immediately. Our sincere thanks go out to these teams for their professional and effective response.

There were no injuries as a result of this incident and the port’s emergency response procedures worked as designed.

The fire was extinguished quickly. It was situated some distance from normal operations, which were able to continue uninterrupted....

December 4, 2020

The largest vessel to call at Northport to date is scheduled to tie up around mid-day on Sunday 6 December. Her cargo includes items that will make their way into Christmas stockings and under Christmas trees all across New Zealand.

‘Constantinos P’, a 261m,  67,906 max displacement, gearless container ship, is carrying about 1,340 containers bound for Auckland that otherwise would not make it into the shops in time for Christmas due to congestion at other ports around the country. She is operating under a Vessel Sharing Agreement between four shipping lines; ANL, OOCL, COSCO and...

November 30, 2020

Two pontoon modules for the new ferry terminal in central Auckland were lowered into Whangarei harbour today in carefully-orchestrated tandem lifts involving Northport’s two mobile harbour cranes. They were among the last of nine modules built by Ruakaka-based SPIIND Industrial Engineers at its facility on Marsden Point Road, all of which were put into the water at Northport and towed by tug to Auckland.

The finished units were transported to a dedicated facility near the port, built by SPIIND with the help of commercial and industrial land-owner and developer Marsden Maritime...

31 January 2020

Northport Ltd welcomes announcements by the government that significant investment is to be made in road and rail links in Northland.

Efficient transport links are vital for the entire region to realise its full economic potential and we will support any development that seeks to achieve this.

We are delighted that a national discussion is being had about realising the full economic potential of our region, and that aspirations for our region are being enabled with significant and meaningful infrastructural investment.

Ports don’...

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...

12 December 2019

The Board of Northport Ltd has welcomed the publication of the final report by the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group.

Northport Ltd Chairman Murray Jagger said:

“Northport has a very clear vision of the role it can play in the economic growth of Northland, Auckland and New Zealand.

“Significant growth is possible here. We have been clear for many years that we stand ready to assist in any way we can to support Auckland’s growth and the aspirations that Aucklanders have for their waterfront.

“We have...

19 November 2019

SailGP will return to New Zealand’s Northland region for testing and training ahead of its second season of racing next year. Six F50 catamarans were raced in the successful inaugural season this year and organisers will test the event’s seventh boat in Whangarei Harbour between now and the end of January, using Northport in Marsden Point as the operational base.

The record-breaking boats are designed, developed and built at Core Builders Composites in Warkworth, New Zealand. The seventh F50 has been in production there since March and will...

6 September 2019

Northport Ltd welcomes today’s announcement by the Minister of Regional Economic Development, Shane Jones, about government’s intention to invest $94.8 million through the Provincial Growth Fund for upgrading the rail line between Swanson and Whangarei.

Northport Ltd is of the view that efficient transport links are vital for the entire region to realise its full economic potential and will support any development that seeks to achieve this.

“This is a red-letter day for Northland and an important step towards an integrated transport...

31 January 2019

Northport Ltd is delighted that the geotechnical tests for the Marsden Point spur line have taken place and we look forward to the results.

Efficient transport links are vital for the entire region to realise its full economic potential and we will support wholeheartedly any development that seeks to achieve this.

We continue to work with Kiwi Rail, existing and potential customers, and other stakeholders such as local government, to explore the full potential for a Marsden Point spur line and to assess how it might complement the...

4 January 2019

Maintenance dredging will take place at Northport next week for the first time in 17 years. Work to remove sediment build-up in the ship turning basin near Snake Bank, along Northport’s linear berth and at Refining NZ’s Jetty 1 berth pocket will start on 7 January and continue for most of the month.

Northport stressed that the work has nothing to do with either its vision for growth, unveiled earlier this year, or Refining NZ’s channel deepening programme.

“The operation will be highly visible so we wanted to head off at the pass any...

4 October 2018

SailGP’s new-class wingsailed F50 catamarans will be tested from mid-October in Northland. The region will become the central technical and development hub for the production and delivery of some of the most advanced boats in the world.

Designed and constructed by New Zealand’s Core Builders Composites, the F50 is a one-design class, and is a redesigned, supercharged incarnation of the exceptional AC50 used for the 35th America’s Cup last year. Core Builders Composites is the official boat supplier for SailGP and will also provide...

20 April 2018

The first containers to be used on a new direct shipping service between Whangarei, Brisbane and Singapore were delivered to Northport today aboard a vessel named, appropriately, Northern Diplomat. The seasonal fortnightly shipping service is being offered to Northland businesses by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), a global leader in sea cargo transportation and logistics, and will improve sea freight transit times for local importers and exporters.

Customers already signed up to use the service include Northland growers of kiwifruit and...

24 November 2017

Northport Ltd is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Cargo volumes at Marsden Point have more than doubled since the port opened in 2002 to a record 3.64 million tonnes last financial year. Ship calls have increased from 93 a year to 250 a year over that period, with berth occupancy now at a record 66.4 percent, up from 52.9 percent just five years ago.

The company, a 50/50 joint venture between Marsden Maritime Holdings Ltd and Port of Tauranga, is marking these milestones by launching a public...

6 March 2017

Northport Ltd welcomes and supports the announcement last week by Minister of Transport Simon Bridges that 22km of State Highway 1 south of Whangarei is to be widened in the largest roading project yet undertaken in Northland.

The announcement sends a positive message regarding central government’s support for economic growth in Northland and recognises the vital role that Northport has to play in this.

The fact that State Highway 1 is to be upgraded southwards from Whangarei at the same time as northwards from Puhoi demonstrates an admirable degree of...

21 September 2016

Whangarei Harbour Radio will change its radio frequency this weekend (from midnight on Friday 23 September) to VHF channel 11. A listening watch will be maintained on the existing channel 19 for a week but this will be switched over to Coastguard New Zealand on Saturday 1 October.

Northport, which manages the harbour’s shipping operations centre, is urging skippers of commercial vessels and all local boaties who use Whangarei Harbour Radio to make note of the frequency change.

Whangarei Harbour Radio facilitates commercial marine operations in Bream...

8 July 2016

Northport Limited has welcomed the Auckland Development Committee’s decision to refer to the incoming Auckland Council the conclusions and recommendations of its Port Future Study, released earlier this week.

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28 April 2015

New crane will streamline Northland freight traffic

Northport is to purchase a $5 million mobile crane for delivery by the end of the year, giving it the ability for the first time to load dedicated container vessels. The move will give Northland businesses the opportunity to access international container vessels without having to ship freight by road to or from other North Island ports.

The Marsden Point facility will become initially a low-volume ‘feeder’ port for container traffic destined for export from North Island ports currently served by...

19 March 2015

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union has claimed today that Northport “does not want a rail link” and that a rail link “does not feature in the Port's 30 year plan."

Our position has always been, and remains, that while rail is not a short-term priority for Northport we support the designation of the rail corridor as it does fit with our strategy of long-term growth. 

There is a subtle difference between this position and that reported by the NZ Taxpayers’ Union. 

It is correct that neither Mr Peters nor any member of New Zealand First has visited...

Boaties and boat-watchers on and around Whangarei Harbour will notice a new and unusual addition to regular marine traffic. Northport has a new work-boat, an 8.5m aluminium catamaran called Manaia, built to the port’s specifications by Whangarei aluminium pontoon boat builder Blackdog Cat Boats. She was launched on 31 July at Marsden Cove Marina where she will be stored.

Northport’s marine team will use Manaia for on-water maintenance of navigation aids from the harbour entrance to Golden Bay Cement at Portland. She will help the port maintain the Dynamic Under-Keel Clearance (...

Northport has appointed an Operations Manager. David Finchett has more than 20 years of experience in senior operations, project and technical roles on high value, safety critical and complex sites. Before joining Northport he was the infrastructure and Operations Manager at the Trawsfynydd nuclear power station in Wales.


His early career involved working with the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet.


David is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and holds an Honours Degree in Engineering Science from...

Northport, the deep-water port at the mouth of Whangarei harbour, has posted record cargo volumes and ship movements for the year ending 30 June. Tonnage across the wharf grew by 13.5 percentover the previous year to 3.095 million revenue tonnes.


The port saw 253 ship calls, 38 more than the previous year. Occupancy of Northport’s existing berths is at a record 52.9 percent.


Logs and wood-chip comprise most of the cargo handled by Northport and a record 13 log exporters now use the facility. More logs were shipped from Northport in the year ending...


The brightest ‘sector’ navigation light in Australasia was switched on today at the entrance to Whangarei Harbour. The$300,000 navigation aid, commissioned and installed by Northport, is one of the top 10 brightest sector lights globally. It replaces one which was 26 years old and only bright enough to operate at night.


The new light is at the tip of Marsden Point, on the seaward side of Refining NZ’s plant. It is visible from five nautical miles during daylight hours and 10 nautical miles at night. It improves the ability of ships to navigate their way...

17 May 2012

Press Release
For Immediate Release


Northport’s weather and tide monitoring to be shared with boaties


Weather and wave data collected through Northport’s telemetry system is now available on Northport’s website, ...

1st April 2012 - Northport

Northport has ordered a 2nd Wave Rider Buoy (WRB) from Axys Technologies in Canada. After several months of planning and analysis, the green light was given to the operation in late 2011 from the board of Directors, for a purchase to be made in the New Year.

The WRB plays a critical role in the ports Dynamic Under Keel Clearance system (DUKC). This system is used to determine if a ship can safely transit the harbour or not. The new buoy will be working alongside the current buoy to...

Terminal Facilities Manager Greg Blomfield (BSurv) has conducted a study on the many types of corrosion that can affect the port's piling and structures.

This was recently published in Corrosion and Materials Magazine and you can read his article here>>

If you would like to know more about where this project is going, or how you may be able to help out, please contact...


Northport background information


Northport is situated at Marsden Point at the mouth of Whangarei Harbour. It 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 570m linear berth.

Logs, woodchip and processed timber for export comprise the bulk of cargo handled by the port. In recent years there has been an increase 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.

Northport has lodged a resource consent application with both Whangārei District Council and Northland Regional Council to extend its linear wharf eastwards to create a container handling and storage area that will integrate with the proposed KiwiRail spur. 
The company proposes extending the port’s linear berth by 520 metres to a total of 1,090 metres. While it already has resource consent for 270 meters of the proposed extension, modelling has made clear that this alone is not sufficient to cater for the projected growth in demand for container storage, handling and transportation at Northport. 
This eastern development project would grow the total footprint of the port from 49.1 hectares to 66.95 hectares.

The port is owned and operated by Northport Ltd, itself owned jointly and equally by Marsden Maritime Holdings Ltd and the Port of Tauranga Ltd.

The back story

The Northland Harbour Board, the controlling port authority at the time, first proposed a port facility at Marsden Point in the late 1960s. It was not until 1976 that the proposal was moved ahead with the first of several environmental reports. The plan lost traction during the 1980s and it wasn’t until the Northland Port Corporation was formed in 1988 that it re-gained momentum.

Northland’s forestry industry was slowly increasing in production and was the catalyst for eventual construction. Final consents for a two-berth facility were finally granted and in 2000 the Northland Port Corporation (now Marsden Maritime Holdings Ltd) entered into a joint venture with the Port of Tauranga to form Northport Ltd.

Construction was started in 2000 and the first log-ship ship was loaded in June 2002. In 2004 consents were obtained for the construction of the third and fourth berths. Construction of the third berth started in late 2005 and was completed in October 2007.

In April 2007 Port Whangarei was closed to commercial shipping and all cargo operations were transferred to Northport.


Common user facility

More than 427 companies are registered for entry onto the port

  • eight have offices here or are permanently on site, with approximately 300 staff between them (ISO, C3, ISL, Genera, North Tugz, Marusumi, SMW, Forest Loaders)
  • three stevedoring operations, including Northport’s container handling service
  • three marshallers, including Northport’s container and break-bulk marshalling
  • 11 ship agencies
  • five government agencies (MNZ, Customs, MPI, DHB and WorkSafe)

2,355 port users with active swipe cards

273,554 inward gate movements / 547,108 total gate movements (July 2022 - June 2023)

Average of 670 truck movements a day, based on a seven-day week

Only about 35 staff directly employed by Northport Ltd



Volume of container traffic increased from 820 TEU in 2016/17 to 32,125 TEU in 22/23

  • About half kiwifruit exported from Northland leave from Northport, up from 25 percent in 2018/19.
  • One-stop shop for importers and exporters; can receive and store cargo, pack and devan containers, provide VGM compliance certification, and load or unload cargo using our two mobile harbour cranes.
  • More refrigerated containers being shipped through Northport; mainly kiwifruit and meat

Container handling: 2x Konecranes Gottwald Mobile Harbour Cranes

  • Can serve container vessels up to post-Panamax class.
  • First crane (100 tonnes) installed in April 2015; second (125 tonnes) in February 2020.
  • Second crane increased productivity of dedicated container vessels using the port; provides resilience.
  • In addition to containers, extends Northport’s flexibility in handling heavy project cargo.

Container handling: $8m infrastructure investment

  • Additional container-handling equipment (4x reach-stacker container handlers, 1x dock-truck, 1x MAFI trailer).
  • Simulator module to train staff in operation of container-handling equipment.
  • Expanding paved area by 4ha to enable the port to reorganise storage, providing 6.35ha paved break-bulk / container storage.
  • Upgrading lighting to enhance safety during 24-hour operations (six x 35m LED light towers).
  • Terminal Operating System (TOS) and associated software to electronically interface with shipping lines and regulatory bodies
  • Demonstrates commitment to growing container traffic to service both our region and north Auckland.
  • Vote of confidence in continued economic growth around our region and across the Upper North Island.

Direct container service from Northport to Australia, Asia and Europe

Shipping lines MSC and CMA have extended their container services linking Northland with Australia, Asia and Europe via the Panama Canal.

MSC’s seasonal service to Asia, through Brisbane and Singapore, entered its fifth year in 2023. It is being used extensively by ZESPRI for Northland kiwifruit exports. It is also being used by exporters of other Northland products that benefit from the direct link and refrigerated container space.

CMA’s seasonal Panama service to Europe was introduced to Northport during the 2022 Kiwifruit export window; three calls left Northport on a trial basis. The uptake and service was good so frequency was increased in 2023, shipping hundreds of containers of high-value exports from the region direct to the East Coast of the US and Europe.
“These are valuable direct links to major export markets which Northland businesses can take advantage of. Although they’re seasonal services catering primarily for Kiwifruit exports they are also available to, and have been embraced by, a range of other sectors” - Northport commercial manager David Finchett.


Weekly coastal shipping container service linking Marsden Point with Tauranga, Auckland and Lyttelton 

This was introduced by Pacifica Shipping in Q1 2024, enhancing the fortnightly service that had been in place since 2016. 

Northland exporters can have their containers loaded at Northport and just over 12 hours later the ship will be in Tauranga, from where there are daily connections available to almost anywhere.

This service also helps Northland importers, and those who want to move freight within New Zealand.  This option bypasses any State Highway 1 detours, Auckland traffic and the Cook Strait. 

This significant move by Pacifica gives shippers more options to reduce their carbon footprint and improve supply chain resilience and efficiency.


Northport is working with its partners Whangarei District Council, Northland Inc and Northland Chamber of Commerce to build Whangarei Cruise over the next five years (2024-2029).

Northport welcomed its first cruise ships in February and March 2024. First to tie up at Northport on Sunday February 4 was the cruise ship ‘Regatta’ with about 604 passengers on board. Significantly, all but 11 of her passengers chose to go ashore to experience what Whangārei and the district have to offer.

‘Regatta’ called again on Thursday 22 February, this time with 611 passengers, and was followed on Thursday 7 March by the smaller ‘Seven Seas Navigator’ with 311 guests on board.


Latest Cruise bookings here


Simulation, training and port development capability

Ship simulator

Training options for the New Zealand marine services sector have broadened considerably thanks to a ship simulator and training facility we have established on site at Northport. It can be used for a wide range of maritime training programmes and gives operators options beyond sending staff to Australia for training and aptitude testing, or enduring long waits for training windows in New Zealand. The simulator replicates the environment on the bridge of a ship or tug, or in a local port service centre.

The facility can be configured to simulate any port in New Zealand. It enables pilots, tug-masters, and local port service operators to train and prepare for changes to their operating environment such as the development of new berths or changes to channels and turning basins. We are currently reviewing proposed navigation aid changes in the Upper Whangarei Harbour.

The system can also be used as part of a port’s emergency response training.

We are offering a range of training courses for up to six people at a time. These include Local Port Services courses; pilot professional development and annual assessment; bridge resource management and error management; PPU training; and tugmaster and bargemaster training. 



Port operations and design

Our ship simulator has been an important tool in helping us to plan and prepare for large container ship calls at Northport in recent months. We use the equipment to examine, as part of the overall risk assessment, the effects on these ships of significant environmental occurrences here at the port.

For instance, as part of the planning for the arrival of the 261m ‘Constantinos P’ we simulated thunderstorm activity with associated heavy rain, reduced visibility and winds gusting up to 50 knots.

In addition to helping us with our own operations here at Northport the simulator has expanded significantly the planning options available to other port operators and the New Zealand marine service sector generally. It is available for organisations around the country to model any port’s expansion and evolution, giving them the ability to project and study the feasibility of any proposed changes to a port’s design or operating environment.

It will show the impact on navigation of changes to berths, changes to shipping channels and improvements in navigational aids. It can be adjusted to consider any changes to the port, or the use of differing ship types such as container ships, bulk cargo ships, car carriers and cruise liners.

We undertook a feasibility study around the construction of a dry dock for the country’s marine industry as part of our Vision for Growth planning exercise. We used the simulator to test and prove the concept, along with different options for configuration and location. Vessel movement, turning capabilities, tug operations and other factors were tested extensively against many variables and in many different operating conditions.

We also used it in our investigation into how to future-proof the upper North Island vehicle import industry with a potential new business model. This would see cars discharged from vessels directly to purpose-built storage, vehicle preparation and distribution facilities immediately outside the port. All in a single movement.  We used the simulator to model and prove the seaward-side operations.


Crane and container-handling simulation

We can also provide crane operator training and aptitude testing with a separate CM Labs mobile harbour and ship-crane simulator. Following recent investment in container-handling equipment Northport also provides reach-stacker simulation training module for its operators. 


Marsden Maritime Holdings land holdings

Northport 50 percent shareholder Marsden Maritime Holdings Ltd owns 65 hectares of land at Marsden Point which abuts directly onto Northport’s boundary. These land holdings are available for lease to companies wishing to make use of the Northport facility. 

It also owns 120 hectares behind this area, zoned for port or industrial use and available for long-term lease to companies wanting to make use of the port. Off-highway access to Northport is available from this area, meaning that normally overweight loads can be transported directly from a site to ship’s side.

In all, there are about 700 hectares of land available for commercial and industrial development at and around Marsden Point - more than twice the area of the Auckland CBD.


Marsden Point has a lot to offer businesses wanting to relocate from places like south Auckland, specifically good transport links, abundant and relatively inexpensive space, no congestion and enviable lifestyle options for employees.

Northport is a key enabler in the Whangarei District Council’s plan to realise the industrial, commercial and residential potential of the area.

UPDATED: May 2024

Northport receives many questions from different media on a regular basis, covering a wide range of issues.

In an effort to ensure accuracy and consistency of reporting we publish here the questions we receive most frequently, along with the answers.

For media enquiries please contact:

Peter Heath
Due North Public Relations
P: 021 456 089

Discussion over the future of Ports of Auckland
  • Is Northport still lobbying for a share of Auckland’s cargo? If so, how?
  • Northport has not, and does not, lobby for a share of Auckland’s cargo. Freight will only relocate if the business case stacks up and the customer sees value in the relocation.

  • Do you disagree with the notion that the Port of Auckland should be shut down and its operations moved elsewhere in their entirety?
  • Northport supports the wider view of the three Upper North Island ports working collaboratively to better utilise their current and potential footprints to support the Upper North Island’s current and future freight demand. Innovative technology provides for better optimisation of port cargo storage/transit facilities and automation can increase productivity resulting in smoother ship turnaround.

  • You call for a resilient, geographically astute, three-port supply-chain strategy for the Upper North Island. What does ‘geographically astute’ mean?
  • Identification of where the Upper North Island population will grow/relocate and in turn identifying the freight location and/or destination within the area enabling sound decision making with regard to infrastructure requirements; i.e. geographically astute rather than parochial decision making.

  • How realistic is it to expect imports to be directed to the Upper North Island port closest to their intended destination? Is that even possible?
  • High value freight will take advantage of earliest/fastest routes as the product can afford to travel/be multi handled, where the lower value freight will focus on total end-to-end cost. While more focus can be placed on receiving freight at the closest port in reality it will depend on shipping services and frequency.

  • What trends in international shipping are addressed by a three-port supply-chain strategy for the Upper North Island?
  • Reducing the number of international port calls to reduce overall supply chain costs. However, for this to work effectively there is a need for multi-modal efficient supply chains: road, rail, and coastal shipping.

  • What now needs to be done before an informed decision can be made about a future UNI ports strategy?
  • There are two options, allow commercial decision making to drive the outcomes, or undertake a countrywide freight demand study with a focus on the UNI – this will require future population and industry projections and their associated freight growth demand.

  • Some industry figures are calling for a study that looks at freight demand over the next 30 years to ensure we have the right capacity, and in the right places. This would include freight modelling - where is export/import demand going to grow? Do you agree?
  • Yes – as per above.

  • Should ports be working more collaboratively and, if so, what needs to happen to make this possible?
  • New Zealand ports need to work more collaboratively. However ports have to be wary of the difference between ‘working collaboratively’ and ‘collusion’; in our view, relatively recent changes in leadership at ports around the country have created new opportunities to better discuss opportunities within the supply chain.

  • Why has Northport kept such a low profile in the national conversation about moving Ports of Auckland?
  • This has predominantly been a political arena; Northport has remained apolitical throughout and provided through its Vision for Growth factual information about its capability.

Expansion/Vision for Growth
  • Northport is on the list of organisations to be considered for inclusion on Schedule 2 of the Fast-track Approvals Bill. Did Northport submit the Eastern Expansion for inclusion?
  • Northport intends to follow the current consent application hearing process to its conclusion. While this remains the company's preferred pathway to obtaining Consent, the deadline of Friday 3 May for applications for inclusion on Schedule 2 of the Fast-track Approvals Bill meant that the company also progressed this option.

  • How many extra jobs, without the shipyard and floating dry-dock?
  • At this stage we envisage that the proposed port expansion/container terminal will initially require 50-100 additional jobs at Northport. As the business case allows, the terminal will become semi-automated and then fully automated. Total job numbers will be 30-50 at that time.

  • To what extent does the expansion rely on container trade? Is it worth doing for break-bulk only?
  • The expansion is based on a container trade supporting the Northland and north Auckland freight growth/demand.

  • What will be the decision-point for the Board - in terms of both timing and commercial activity?
  • As in all Northport expansion plans a solid business case will be required. This can be dependent on both the commercial demand as well as picking the right time to make the investment. As we can demonstrate, the consenting phase can take upwards of five years to complete and is why we started this consent process in 2015.

  • Is the project time sensitive?
  • As per above, the project cannot go ahead without a consent. The time needed to prepare and (hopefully) obtain a consent means the timing of the application is of paramount importance so as to facilitate our ability to react quickly to growth demand.

  • What will be the impact of 24hr operations on neighbouring residential areas?
  • The port already operates 24/7. There are existing noise management procedures that are reviewed regularly. The proposed shipyard is likely to have conditions imposed around night-time operations such as sand-blasting and painting.

Ship Yard and Dry Dock
  • What does Northport have that Picton doesn’t?
  • Northport has not been contracted to consider one port facility over the other, we were asked to consider whether Northport could accommodate a floating dry dock within its future port plans. In doing so we have identified that a floating drydock and associated shipyard facilities need access to significant land based infrastructure, the floating drydock needs access as well as substantial securing infrastructure – these units cannot operate anchored out in the stream; as can be seen from our Vision for Growth plans the proposed infrastructure has sufficient area to support the planned operations. Northland has access to suitable labour and required shipbuilding trades, as well as being able to accommodate any of the shipyard staff moving from Auckland to Northland.

  • Is the shipyard and dry-dock an essential component of your growth plans?
  • The shipyard/floating drydock is not part of Northport’s own growth plans. Northport is a port operator not a shipyard operator. However the management/shareholders recognised an opportunity for Northport to facilitate significant regional growth and nationally strategic infrastructure.

  • Will Northport Ltd invest in the shipyard/floating drydock project?
  • Northport is a port operator not a shipyard operator. We continue to facilitate discussions with and between potential investors in this regionally significant and nationally strategic infrastructure.

  • Have you seen the final PWC Business Case for the shipyard/floating drydock project?
  • Northport was part of the Advisory Group providing advice during the development of the report but has not seen or been briefed about the content of the report submitted to the Ministry.

  • Is the shipyard/floating drydock project one of those that the National/ACT/NZ First coalition government intends to fast-track?
  • That is entirely at the discretion of the government.

  • Has Northport submitted this project, or been asked to submit this project, under the ‘fast-track’ infrastructural development legislation?
  • ‘No’ in both cases. For completeness and full transparency, we have been asked for project information by the government and we have provided this.

  • Do you think the spur will ever happen?
  • The rail spur and the port expansion are complementary and both are important to Northport’s ability to play a meaningful role in a resilient and geographically-astute upper North Island supply chain. KiwiRail are in the process of purchasing the last few pieces of land within the designation while confirming the build design. Once this has been completed the actual build is estimated at five years from inception to completion.

  • Is KiwiRail coming to the party, commercially, with competitive rates that will make rail a viable option for cargo heading south?
  • Northport is not privy to the commercial rates provided by KiwiRail.

  • Is an Auckland/Northport rail freight service commercially viable right now? If not, what would it take to make it so?
  • Increased freight volume and either a reduced road-bridge cost or a small container siding at Oakleigh (being discussed with KiwiRail).

  • At what stage, and at what level of detail, are your planning discussions with KiwiRail?
  • Northport meets regularly with KiwiRail, as this project ramps up there are plans for in depth discussions around rail requirements at Marsden Point.

  • Where will the rail line go; where will the terminal be situated?
  • Check out the video on our ‘Vision for Growth’ website , or the slider on this page.

  • What do you think about Wayne Brown’s point that rail should run straight to the side of ships?
  • This type of rail configuration is no longer adopted by modern port design; the turnaround times/productivity of ship loading/discharge makes direct to hook delivery impractical, operations need all of the cargo at the port and stacked for multi-port/destination loading before ship arrival.
    For discharge the cargo needs to be removed from under hook as soon as landed and taken to storage areas for sorting/stacking for specific destination(s).

  • Was ditching the road for the rail the right decision?
  • Northland requires a multi-modal supply chain, ditching any one for the other makes no real sense if the government really wants Northland as a region to grow. We are happy to see plans to expand the four-laning of State Highway 1 north of Auckland beyond the current termination point at Warkworth.

  • Would you support road development over rail?
  • The rail spur and North Auckland Line upgrade are important to the port’s expansion plans. However, in the interim, linking Northland and Auckland more effectively by road would promote growth within the region; freight, tourism, general business, decentralisation, etc.

  • What’s your position on cars? You spoke some time ago about an alternative business model for the vehicle import trade; what progress?
  • We continue to work closely with potential customers that see the opportunity to move out of Auckland and are available to mitigate the challenges facing the industry with the capabilities and space we have here.
    Northport has continued to discuss an alternative to the current car-import model at Ports of Auckland. We are not suggesting a like-for-like operation but an ‘out of the box’ approach whereby cars are imported into Northport and delivered to an adjacent car storage/preparation facility. Then either collected by the customer directly or delivered door-to-door.

  • You have a job to do, to win over the sceptics in the motor trade. How do you plan to do that?
  • Selling the concept relies on ongoing and effective communication with industry players, while working closely with potential customers that see the opportunity to move out of Auckland.

  • Do you intend to build cruise-specific facilities to become a cruise terminal?
  • There is no reason for Northport to build a purpose-built cruise facility. The cruise industry is happy to berth alongside a commercial wharf facility, especially if that avoids an anchoring situation and disembarking/embarking by tender.

Log fumigation
  • Where can I find more information?
  • Please see extensive background and additional information here.

Cargo trends
  • What are your forecasts for log exports?
  • In 2014 Northport undertook a review of log availability in Northland, this review identified that log volumes in Northland are expected to remain around 4.2 million m³ per annum until 2026 and then shows a fall to an average harvest availability of c.2.4 million m³ per annum between 2027 and 2041.
    Currently log processors use c.1.7 million m³ per annum, this is based on the structural portion of the resource. Based on 40% of the available resources being available to the processors (without any retooling factored in), export log volumes are expected to drop to as low as around 1.4 million m³ per annum over the same period.
    This study had a desktop review undertaken in 2018 to confirm accuracy of projections. The review indicated projections were accurate. In 2021/22 a full review was undertaken of the log availability in Northland utilising new technology and most recent harvesting and planting information.
    Findings included:
    - total annual harvest is projected to reduce gradually from approximately 3.9 million m³ in 2022/2023 to 1.8 million m³ by 2030
    - total annual harvest will then plateau for five to six years until approximately 2035/2036 before starting to rise again
    - total annual harvest will then peak at up to 6 million m³ by 2045

  • How do you plan to compensate for any slow-down in log exports?
  • Northport reviewed its strategic planning in 2015 after the release of the Log Availability Forecast and a study of Northland freight options and made its first move into container handling, which is growing apace. At the same time it introduced its Vision for Growth to the port’s wider community stakeholders.

  • What are the trends in container traffic at Northport?
  • In recent years there has been an increase 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.
    The volume of container traffic increased from 820 TEU in 2016/17 to 32,125 TEU in 22/23.

    International Services
    Shipping lines MSC and CMA have extended their container services linking Northland with Australia, Asia and Europe via the Panama Canal. MSC’s seasonal service to Asia, through Brisbane and Singapore, entered its fifth year in 2023. It is being used extensively by ZESPRI for Northland kiwifruit exports. It is also being used by exporters of other Northland products that benefit from the direct link and refrigerated container space. CMA’s seasonal Panama service to Europe was introduced to Northport during the 2022 Kiwifruit export window; three calls left Northport on a trial basis. The uptake and service was good so frequency was increased in 2023, shipping hundreds of containers of high-value exports from the region direct to the East Coast of the US and Europe. These are valuable direct links to major export markets which Northland businesses can take advantage of. Although they’re seasonal services catering primarily for Kiwifruit exports they are also available to, and have been embraced by, a range of other sectors.

    Coastal shipping links
    In Q1 2024 Pacifica Shipping introduced a weekly coastal shipping container service linking Marsden Point with Tauranga, Auckland and Lyttelton. This enhances the fortnightly service that had been in place since 2016. Northland exporters can have their containers loaded at Northport and just over 12 hours later the ship will be in Tauranga, from where there are daily connections available to almost anywhere. This service also helps Northland importers, and those who want to move freight within New Zealand. This option bypasses any State Highway 1 detours, Auckland traffic and the Cook Strait. This significant move by Pacifica gives shippers more options to reduce their carbon footprint and improve supply chain resilience and efficiency.