A new shipping service which includes a stop in Tauranga could provide relief for those trying to get goods in and out of earthquake affected areas.

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said Maersk Lines had just announced a new service which would begin in January. The Tasman Star service will provide fixed day, weekly connections between New Zealand and Australia, and will call at Tauranga, Timaru and Lyttelton, deploying three 1100 20 foot equivalent unit vessels, each with a 250-plug reefer capacity.

"That's a few weeks away, but it will provide a very good relief valve for road and rail networks being out between Picton and Christchurch," he said.

Mr Cairns said the Port of Tauranga had not yet received any requests by other ports or shipping companies to accommodate vessels diverted from Wellington or South Island ports affected by the earthquake.


"It has been a dreadful event," he said. "To date there haven't been any requests for diversion to POT."

However, he said the port was monitoring the impact of the earthquake on other ports around the country.