Here is a sobering graph, courtesy of Maersk New Zealand.

Click to enlarge.


It shows container productivity (gross moves per hour) in New Zealand ports for Maersk vessels compared with other ports mainly in the Asia Pacific region.

The statistics show productivity as low as 20 GMPH in some locations, including New Zealand, and much higher rates in others.

Port size, ship size, labour restrictions and other factors do not fully explain the differences.

Some New Zealand ports, especially Tauranga, are better than others, especially Auckland.

The picture is consistent with the findings in this 2010 report by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research for the Local Government Forum.

Port reform in the late 1980s and early 1990s greatly improved the performance of New Zealand ports.  We were ahead of many Australian ports for some years but the position has now reversed.

A renewed effort involving ports, shipping lines and the government is needed to make up for lost time.