The biggest container ship to visit New Zealand will visit Port of Tauranga later this year.

Maersk Line and Kotahi, New Zealand's export supply chain firm say the ship will call at the start of the peak export season in Septmber-October.

The ship, which has not yet been named, is 348m long and can carry 9500 twenty foot equivalent unit containers (TEUs).

In the past the biggest ships to visit New Zealand were just over 5000 TEUs.


Kotahi chief executive David Ross said the new era of big ship visits to New Zealand has been made possible through Kotahi's collaboration with exporters, Maersk Line and Port of Tauranga.

"This is a real step change."

"The arrival of larger ships to our waters is a key milestone for New Zealand on its journey to become a more efficient export nation.''

The new generation 9500 TEU vessels were more fuel efficient on a per-container basis and would reduce the carbon footprint of the ocean freight component of New Zealand exports by at least a minimum of 22 per cent per container unit compared to the existing New Zealand industry average.

The largest vessels in the world can carry 18,000 TEUs.

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said his company was is well placed to handle these larger vessels.

The final stage dredging work will be completed next month as part of a $350 million capital investment programme to develop the infrastructure to become a port capable of handling larger ships.

"We are pleased to see that our upgraded infrastructure will be utilised so promptly. This gives us the opportunity to continue providing our customers with premium ocean freight solutions from a range of carriers."

Maersk Line Oceania managing director Gerard Morrison said the collaborative partnership with Kotahi has been a catalyst for his company's pursuit of bringing larger ships to New Zealand which will deliver benefits to our customers and the country's supply chain.

"The enhanced Triple Star service shows Maersk Line's commitment to New Zealand and to providing our customer base with unmatched access to global markets. It is predominantly the export volumes from South America to Asia that enables this opportunity for New Zealand exporters to participate in a large, efficient network that introduces the North-Asia direct connection on the Triple Star service."