An update from Northport says it has reduced its container loading rate as of 1300hrs today (Saturday 12 December). Its forklift drivers have reached their maximum number of working hours under Northport’s fatigue management policy and only one forklift driver is able to remain on duty up until 1500hrs. This is the time at which Northport has been advising trucking companies since Wednesday this week that its container-loading operations would stop until 0600 on Monday 14 December.
“Our staff have been absolute heroes this week, with many pulling very long hours in an effort to get this mammoth job done,” said Northport chief executive Jon Moore. “Now it’s time for a rest so that we can pick up again at 0600 on Monday, as planned.”
Northport was prepared for 200 trucks to arrive yesterday (Friday). In the event 117 trucks turned up at the port and all were loaded.
“We loaded 10 percent of the Constantinos P boxes yesterday (Friday) at a rate of 10 or 11 an hour,” Mr Moore said. “We were very happy with the way it all went.
“As we said at the outset, we have ample space for the containers in our storage area but placement so that individual containers can easily be reached by our container-handling equipment has been, and continues to be, a logistical challenge. As has the marshalling of the many trucks arriving to collect the containers. Many of these have been wanting to take a specific box away with them and this has added to the complexity of the operation.”
Some containers have yet to be cleared for removal from the port by NZ Customs or MPI. Some trucks were sent to collect these containers and some delays were incurred as the port spent time trying to find alternative containers.
Mr Moore thanked all involved in the process of transferring containers from the port to the trucks for their patience and understanding. The trucking companies and their drivers had been fantastic to work with and everybody had been accepting of the challenges involved.
Operations will resume at 0600 on Monday morning and Mr Moore expects to be able to improve slightly on loading rates. Northport will also be turning its attention back to its regular operations which all but stopped this week while the Constantinos P was being unloaded.
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Northport, situated at Marsden Point at the mouth of Whangarei 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.