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NZL Group Spells Out Plans To Port Of Tauranga

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 10 NZPA - NZL Group Ltd is hoping to be able to offer more permanent employment opportunities at Port of Tauranga if it establishes its own container terminal.

NZL Group said its subsidiary, Sulphur Point Container Terminal Ltd, has submitted details of its proposed terminal operation at Sulphur Point to the port. It aims to be operational by early next year.

NZL Group argues it has a right to re-establish a container terminal operated by P&O Ports until 2003. NZL Group purchased the P&O Ports New Zealand business.

The port disputes that NZL Group has any rights and has said the envisaged marshalling and stevedoring service would not amount to a full terminal operation.

Marshallers work on land receiving cargo from road and rail transport and assembling it and stevedores traditionally load and unload ships.

"One of the most exciting aspects of this is that wharves have become very highly casualised," said NZL Group director Ken Harris.

"It is very hard to give good conditions and decent employment. I would argue, and it is a personal view, that it has become way to casualised.

"In a terminal setting we will actually be able to generate a good range of permanent jobs and invest in skills," he said.

The port has said the matter could end up in court.

Mr Harris said NZL Group did not want it to go to court but he could see it as a possibility.

NZL Group has signalled that Ports of Auckland would be a customer.

Mr Harris said NZL Group wanted back the facilities at the port it had when P&O Ports operated at Sulphur Point. Its operation covered about 40 percent of the Sulphur Point area.

"Port of Tauranga was built on really progressive forwarding thinking companies like Owens and NZL competing against each other.

"I expect it will be good for Bay of Plenty, an area that has shown the way in terms of port efficiency. It has all been built on the efficiency of competing stevedores," Mr Harris said.

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