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MSC doubles Port of Tauranga shipping schedule

Friday 30th September 2011

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Port of Tauranga, New Zealand's biggest export hub, says the world's second-biggest shipping line will double the frequency of its Oceana Express Service, taking it to weekly basis following positive feedback from customers.

The announcement comes after Mediterranean Shipping Company last month selected Tauranga as its only New Zealand port of call on a service which links the country with Australia and North and Central America.

The accelerated shipping schedule, which starts in October, will require MSC to enter into some vessel sharing arrangements to accommodate the change which will have a short-term impact on port operations, the company said in a statement today.

"We expect a small loss of vessel calls resulting from this modified arrangement as the vessel sharing partnerships already call at the Port of Tauranga, however this will be offset by the earlier move to a weekly frequency by MSC," the port operator said. "This is another positive development in consolidating cargo to provide the scale which will ultimately attract the larger container vessels to New Zealand trades."

Under the terms of the original service, MSC said it planned to trans-ship cargo from six other New Zealand ports using its Capricorn, Kiwi and Pacific Island services.

That would boost Port of Tauranga's container operations by between 20% and 25% in the coming year, with about 40% of the forecast increase coming from trans-shipped cargo, a level the company said it was still comfortable with under the new arrangement.

In the year ended June 30, Tauranga’s container trans-shipment volumes jumped 52%. While Tauranga claims the crown of biggest port by volume overall, the 590,506 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) it handled in the latest year lags behind Auckland’s 894,383 TEUs.

Shares of Port of Tauranga were unchanged today at $9.50, and have gained 26% so far this year.

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