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Global scale - getting some perspective

New Zealand faces unique exporting challenges due to our small size and isolation. Our challenge is to work together and build scale into our supply chain.

While New Zealand punches above its weight with the quality of products we offer to the world, we face unique challenges due to our small size and isolation. New Zealand’s container flow is less than 1 per cent of global trade, so our challenge is to work together and build scale into our supply chain.

The North-South trade routes that we link up with – which aren’t insignificant – are subscale when compared with their East-West counterparts, which have a manufacturing focus (e.g. electronics and hard consumable products) and are often serviced by vessels with capacity well above 10,000 TEU.

Take the Port of Shanghai for example, which had a throughput of 36,540,000 TEU in 2015. That’s just over 100,000 every single day. By comparison, over 851,000 TEU flow over Port of Tauranga annually. That effectively means that Shanghai is able to process in just over eight days what New Zealand’s largest freight gateway does in a full year.

While New Zealand’s total container flow volumes are small in comparison to world trade volumes, this gives us a unique opportunity. Cargo pooling and working together with the industry is an effective way to collaborate and drive efficiencies in the supply chain. Through our partners, we have input to ocean freight network design and better landside asset utilisation. This means we have been able to deliver above industry service levels for our customers and ensure they retain a secure supply chain for the future.