Business Leaders

Port success sets region up for growth

The foundations for the growth and success of our regional economy are underway at Napier Port, with the operation posting record cargo volumes, delivering a strong financial result, and lodging an application for consent to build a new wharf.

A record 4.754 million tonnes of cargo crossed the port’s wharves in the year to 30 September 2017, up from 3.916 million tonnes in 2016. Container volumes grew 12% to a record 288,444 TEU. Log exports also hit a new high, with 1.63 million tonnes exported through Napier – a 35% increase on last year’s record.

After a large volume of scientific research and almost two years of pre-consultation with the community, Napier Port also reached a huge milestone in the development of its proposed wharf and dredging project when it lodged its resource consent application with Hawke’s Bay Regional Council last December.

If granted, it will see a 350-metre wharf built when cargo demand and increasing ship size warrant it.

Napier Port and the Hawke’s Bay economy are also enjoying the benefits of the cruise industry, with 60 cruise ships set to bring more than 153,000 passengers and crew into the Bay this cruise season.

Napier Port chairman Alasdair MacLeod says 2017 was an historic year for Napier Port.

“We faced a major challenge in the wake of the Kaikoura earthquake, and I’m proud of the way our people stepped up.”

Napier Port saw a significant and unexpected spike in cargo following the quake on 14 November 2016, as containers were rerouted to Napier.

“Essentially, we saw six years’ forecast growth in one year.”

It wasn’t the only major feat for the port in 2017, with giant cruise ship the Ovation of the Seas becoming the largest ship ever to berth at Napier Port when it made its maiden call in January.

“We had a fantastic cruise season, and the Ovation’s call was undoubtedly the highlight. It really showed what we’re capable of achieving, and it was great to have such strong support from our tourism partners and our local community.”

More than 125,000 passengers and crew visited Napier over the 2016-2017 season, bringing around $20 million into the local economy.

The port’s onsite packing facility, Port Pack, also continued its growth trend, with 48,310 TEU containers handled over the course of the year. Port Pack now accounts for nearly a third of Napier Port’s containerised full export throughput, and has grown into one of the biggest packing facilities in New Zealand.

The port also invested $18.7 million in capital projects and equipment, including land holdings in Pandora and Whakatu and specialist studies to support its application for resource consent to build a new wharf.

The resource consent application for its proposed 6 Wharf Development and Dredging Project is a crucial element in Napier Port’s future strategy. Alasdair says cargo volumes across the port are likely to nearly double over the next decade and Napier Port needs to develop its facilities to handlethatgrowthonbehalfoftheregion.

“Napier Port is critical to Hawke’s Bay’s economy – we’re associated with 27,000 full and part-time jobs and more than half of Hawke’s Bay’s gross regional product,” he says.

“Hawke’s Bay’s economy is in growth mode, and we’re forecast to see cargo volumes nearly double over the next decade, while ship size is also forecast to grow. Having a sixth wharf in place will strengthen our connection to global markets and ensure Hawke’s Bay can continue to thrive and maintain its enduring relevance.”

Long-serving chief executive Garth Cowie passed over the captain’s duties to Todd Dawson at the end of last year, after 18 years at the helm, and Alasdair says Todd is the right person to continue Napier Port’s success.

“We absolutely have the right person for the role. Todd brings the skill, acumen and tenacity we need to take Napier Port into the future.”

Todd comes to Napier Port from Kotahi Logistics, where he has been for the last five years, the last two as General Manager BoxConnect, leading their strategic programmes and implementation of new ventures and strategic partnerships. Todd says he’s excited to get stuck in.

“I’ve had a great welcome from the Napier Port team, and I’m enjoying meeting our many local customers. I’m very focused on a successful future for Napier Port, and I’m looking forward to working towards that with our team, our customers and our community stakeholders,” Todd says.