Ports of Auckland tour

28 March 2018

On a bright and breezy day in February the Global Operations Management (BUSMGT 724) class from the University of Auckland Business School went for a tour of the Ports of Auckland (POAL).  Accompanied with live narration explaining the workings of the port, the trip started with a bus tour through the working wharves followed by a boat tour.  After the tour, Dale Harrison and Yvonne Theuerkauf from POAL met the participants in a classroom where they discussed supply chain challenges and answered questions.

The importance of the Auckland port for the supply chain and overall economy of the region cannot be overstated.  For more than a century the port has evolved with the times and has kept pace with the growth of the city.  The scale and complexity of operations are mind-boggling.

The port handles 240 million tonnes of freight annually which includes an assortment of different types of cargo: containerised, bulk (e.g. cement), break-bulk (e.g. logs), and roll-on-roll-off (automobiles).  Adding to the complexity are the imbalances between imports and exports, the challenge of repositioning empty containers and coordination with several agencies: freight forwarders, shipping lines, inland transport (trucks and trains) and government departments (Customs and MPI).

However, the major concerns confronting the port today are not just limited to the operational challenges mentioned above.  Located in the central business district of Auckland future growth of the port is constrained by the limited availability of land.  Many would also argue that cranes, straddles and containers do not make the most aesthetically pleasing view for the city’s prime shoreline and suggest the port should be moved elsewhere opening up the space for redevelopment.

After much deliberation and the Port Future Study that was completed in 2016, the Auckland Council has begun the initiative of relocating the port. A study is currently underway to identify the best location for the new port.  However, relocation of the port is a time consuming exercise one that could take up to three decades.  With that horizon in mind Ports of Auckland have prepared a draft 30-year master plan which will allow the port to serve the growing needs of the city from its current location until the time a newly built port becomes ready.

Enriched from the port tour student groups have reviewed the draft 30-year master plan and written reports that summarise the tour and provide feedback on the plan.  These student reports will be shared with POAL where Dale and Yvonne are looking forward to the comments that our students have to make.

Overall, it was a very fruitful and enriching tour that was thoroughly enjoyed by the participants.  We are thankful to POAL and particularly Dale and Yvonne for making it possible.

References:
Challenges in New Zealand’s Supply Chain and how Ports of Auckland is responding – presentation by Dale Harrison (20 Feb, 2018)
The Ports of Auckland 30 Years Masterplan