Container shipping is set to return to New Plymouth with a route linking regional ports and Australia’s east coast

Move Logistics has reached an agreement to acquire a vessel, the Atlas Wind, outside of Europe.

Provided / Stuff

Move Logistics has reached an agreement to acquire a vessel, the Atlas Wind, outside of Europe.

A ‘revolutionary’ freight forwarding service is set to launch in Port Taranaki – eight years after the container trade ended.

New Plymouth-based freight forwarding and warehousing company Move Logistics Group has announced a freight line linking New Plymouth to New Zealand regional ports, Tasmania and the east coast of Australia.

A new division, Move Oceans, is bringing in freighter from Europe, and the first bulk, bulk and container sailing is set to take place “this side of Christmas”, chief executive Dale Slade said.

“We already have strong engagement from a few customers. There has been a lot of interest. »

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Port Taranaki has been without container shipping since 2014, although trade declined after Fonterra pulled out in 2009.

Move Oceans has reached an agreement to buy carrier Atlas Wind, which can carry 350 containers, the equivalent of 5,000 tonnes of bulk cargo, and the sale is expected to close in October.

Move Oceans plans to offer a monthly service between New Plymouth, Nelson, Timaru and Bluff, and across Tasmania.

Slade said the service will not only give Taranaki businesses a new export opportunity, “it will also allow New Plymouth to have direct access to imports from Australia.”

“It’s fantastic to be able to build a shipping service from scratch and work with regional customers, who represent many of Move’s existing customers, and it’s a great complement to our national trucking and warehousing.

“That changes things a bit. There are not many logistics companies that also have their own ship to deliver the products. »

Slade said it was “probably the worst time in shipping history to do this” in the wake of Covid, which had caused shipping delays and worker shortages, but it was also “the also the most opportune moment”.

“It’s not the magic bullet to deal with maritime congestion issues, but it’s a decently sized vessel that will deliver a large tonnage and a reliable monthly cycle.

“The intention is for it to be a three to five year plan and then we can definitely look at bigger ships with a higher frequency.”

Move is also developing a separate trucking service between New Zealand regional ports.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has invested $10 million in the scheme, which was announced in June.

The decision is to purchase and refit a quarter-ramp ro-ro vessel, with first sailing to take place next year.

Move said the service would take vehicles off the road and save 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.