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TAURANGA, New Zealand: A deal between a leading New Zealand logistics company and the country largest port has been underwritten by Maersk Line with a commitment to introduce 6,500-TEU vessels to the port for the first time.

In a three-way deal, Kotahi, a logistics management company, has guaranteed 1.8 million TEUs to the port of Tauranga (below) and 2.5 million TEUs to Maersk Line over the next 10 years from August; the port will invest in the necessary infrastructure to eventually accommodate 6,500 TEU container ships; and Maersk will introduce from October a new 4,500 TEU service to complement its current Northern Star and Southern Star services.

Port-of-Tauranga---BusinessLaunched in 2011, Kotahi is a joint venture between Fonterra Co-Operative and Silver Fern Farms to provide freight management services for more than 30 customers covering meat wool, dairy, timber, pharmaceuticals, horticulture and seafood exports.

Kotahi CEO Chris Greenough commented: "New Zealand doesn't have a big ship capable port and now is the right time for key players to work together to build a capability within New Zealand to receive these large vessels with all the efficiencies they will bring. These ships will ensure [the country] does not become a spoke to the larger hubs across the Tasman, which would add 7-10 days to export transit times."

Port of Tauranga CEO Mark Cairns added: "The cargo commitments give port of Tauranga the certainty to proceed with the infrastructure to accommodate the 6,500 TEU ships. This will in turn spur the development of New Zealand's coastal shipping industry as freight consolidates on port of Tauranga as a hub port for the country."

Maersk Line New Zealand managing director Gerard Morrison said his company now had a "clear path" to work on the introduction of larger vessels that will reduce the carbon footprint cost of New Zealand ocean exports by approximately 22 percent. "The new long-term contract with Kotahi represents a new model of collaboration for our business and provides certainty for Maersk Line," he added.

The port of Tauranga is New Zealand's largest port with operations at Sulphur Point and Mount Maunganui in Tauranga; MetroPort, a rail-linked inland port in South Auckland; and at a new intermodal freight hub in Rolleston southwest of Christchurch.

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