An independent report into the social and economic potential of plans for expansion 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 growing 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 contribute an extra $160m to the national GDP within the next 38 years. The shipyard and floating drydock would deliver nearly twice that ($290m) over the same period.
However, the report bases its findings on the assumption that government and the relevant Crown agencies back the region’s calls for significant, sustained investment in its transport infrastructure.
“We have said for ages that Northport can play an integral role in a resilient, geographically-astute supply chain strategy for the Upper North Island,” said Northport chief executive Jon Moore. “But only if decision-makers open their eyes to this potential and back our region with the modern, 21st-century transport infrastructure that Northland community and business leaders have been crying out for.”
Vaughan Cooper of Northland Inc said the report findings created a strong economic case for the expansion.
“It clearly highlights the potential economic benefits of the Northport expansion for the Northland region. Job creation of this scale will have ripple effects across our communities, while also providing facilities to increase exports and service vessels from outside of the region – both of which will have positive impacts on the region’s economy.”
The Polis report can be accessed from the Northland Inc website (https://www.northlandnz.com/northland-inc/resource-hub-documents/northportreport/). Its findings echo those in an economic assessment undertaken for Northport by economic consultancy and research provider m.e Consulting. That report says that if Northport did expand as planned it could evolve to become nationally-significant infrastructure, supporting not only the economic growth of Northland and North Auckland but New Zealand as a whole.
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Northport, situated at Marsden Point at the mouth of Whangārei Harbour, 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 570 metre linear berth. Logs, woodchip and processed timber for export comprise the bulk of cargo handled by the port. Recent investment in container handling equipment has seen an uptake 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.