New Zealand's biggest cement manufacturer and supplier says it will move its shipping services to the South Island from Auckland to Northland.

David Thomas, Fletcher Building chief executive of building products, said Golden Bay Cement had late last year begun shipping cement directly out of Northport at Whangarei.

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Around 11 per cent of all cement made in Portland will eventually be shipped to the South Island directly from Northport.

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Previously, the cement had been shipped directly from Portland to Auckland where pods were filled at the Eastport facility - the large white dominant dome-shaped structure on Auckland's waterfront.

Golden Bay was using Northport's facilities and a newly-introduced fortnightly coastal shipping service to improve the way it moves cement powder from its plant in Portland near Whangarei, to distribution hubs around the country, Thomas said.

Paul Thorn, GBC Winstone head of cement, said that before the change to Northport last September, cement had been shipped directly from the Portland dock to Auckland.

"So we were effectively double handling the cement for the South Island."