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Port Merger Has Long-Term Strategic Benefits

11 October 2006

Auckland-Tauranga Port Merger Has Long-Term Strategic Benefits

The proposed merger of the Ports of Auckland and Tauranga has to be looked at from the standpoint of the long-term benefits it will provide to the New Zealand economy and its transformation to stay internationally competitive.

Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce, noted port projections that the number of containers shipped through both ports would double over the next 5 years from the current 1.25 million, and double again over the next 10 years. “That is a huge number of boxes, and shows the enormous growth potential of the economy in this part of New Zealand.”

“We need to ensure the ports have the organisational capability to manage this growth in a way that keeps the ports and the regions they serve in control.”

Otherwise the international shipping companies will dictate terms and costs for serving the trade needs of this part of the world, said Mr Barnett.

He also noted that Tauranga was already New Zealand’s largest export port and Auckland the largest import port, and together they handled more than 60% of the value of all New Zealand’s exports and imports. “A strategic alliance makes huge sense.”

Importantly, by becoming a single entity they will be able to ensure they can be run efficiently without depending on rate payers to fund the inevitable port development that will be required to manage the expected future growth.

ENDS

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