A Hawke's Bay fruit exporter says a new shipping route which stops off at Napier Port will "provide added flexibility" for moving apples and other fruit overseas.
ZIM Integrated Shipping Services has begun a new shipping route which travels between New Zealand and Australia with stops at five ports, including Napier.
It will initially see one cargo ship dock at Napier Port every three weeks but there are plans to increase ship frequency along the route, known as Third Loop NZ to Australia.
The new shipping line offers a service for dry and refrigerated cargo including fresh produce.
Napier Port CEO Todd Dawson said it was a good result for the region.
"We're very pleased that the shipping options for Hawke's Bay's exporters have increased with this new direct transtasman shipping service."
The first cargo ship using the new route arrived at Napier Port last Saturday.
Apple and fruit growing company T&G, which has a large presence in Hawke's Bay, has worked with ZIM in the past to transport its fruit.
"T&G Global has established a positive relationship with the ZIM team already, having previously used their ships for transporting some of our Gisborne-grown apples," T&G Global logistics manager Simon Beale said.
"We welcome their arrival into Napier as this will provide added flexibility and different options for us in moving our fruit to global markets."
The new route begins in Melbourne and travels to Sydney, Auckland, Lyttelton, Napier and back to Melbourne.
Hawke's Bay fruit growers have raised concerns during the Covid-19 pandemic about global shipping issues including delays and higher costs.