The Port of Tauranga is today celebrating the millionth container passing through its terminal in one year.

Transport Minister and Tauranga MP Simon Bridges has congratulated the Port of Tauranga at the celebration this morning.

"The Port of Tauranga is a leading New Zealand port for container throughput and the largest port in terms of volume in New Zealand. It's great to be able to mark this milestone and acknowledge the economic benefits the port brings to the wider Bay of Plenty economy," Mr Bridges said.

In the six months to December 31, the volume of imports passing through Port of Tauranga increased by seven per cent, while exports increased by nine per cent.

Chief executive Mark Cairns said the momentous occasion was reached on June 6.

"We are the first port in New Zealand to reach the milestone.


"We have gone from a small, insignificant regional port to the largest port in New Zealand by a good margin."

"Effective partnerships between ports, the Government, KiwiRail, local councils and others are making this kind of growth possible," Mr Bridges said.

"The Bay of Plenty economy is underpinned by strong growth across a number of sectors - including horticulture, forestry, tourism, and meat and dairy exports.

"The Bay of Plenty's economic development is supported through a number of initiatives, including the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Economic Action Plan that covers nine key work areas including horticulture, education and skills, forestry and wood products, geothermal resources, and Māori land utilisation.

"The Port of Tauranga is investing $350 million in infrastructure to handle larger ships. Combined with today's achievement of the million-container milestone, the Bay of Plenty's future is bright," Mr Bridges said.