Ingrid Jellick

The MV Aotea Maersk arrived into Tauranga port on Tuesday morning.

At 347 metres long it is the largest container ship to visit New Zealand, and Tauranga is her only port of call.

The event, made possible through extensive collaboration between the Port of Tauranga, Maersk and Kotahi Logistics, provides a significant boost to New Zealand's trade capability.


"These bigger ships, given how far New Zealand is from our markets, we have to have the lowest cost and most efficient supply chain. These are the largest ships calling New Zealand. They don't call Australia. I think they really do give our exporters an advantage in terms of transit times to market," said Port of Tauranga CEO Mark Cairns.

For Mr Cairns, Maersk's decision to add Tauranga to the South America to North Asia route is a coup. It follows a hefty investment in dredging the port to get it ready for larger vessels.

"The total project cost for the port to be big ship capable was around $350 million, that we've spent over the last decade," said Mr Cairns.

The vessel, built in 1999, was renamed Aotea in honour of the new route.

The ship captain Lars Poulsen, said he realises the "huge significance" of the event for New Zealand, and says he is honoured to bring "a ship of this size" into port.

- Made with funding from NZ on Air