Port of Tauranga has announced record cargo volumes and increased profits for the year to June 30.
In a statement, Port of Tauranga said it continued to consolidate its position as New Zealand's international hub port with transhipment increasing 11.2 per cent.
The port handled more than 26.9 million tonnes of cargo, an increase of 10.2 per cent in volume, with containerised cargo growing 4.3 per cent to more than 1.2 million TEUs.
TEUs are 20-foot equivalent units, a standard measure of shipping containers.
Group net profit after tax passed the $100m milestone for the first time, increasing 6.7 per cent on last year's profit of $94.3m to reach $100.6m.
Port of Tauranga's chairman David Pilkington said the results were evidence of Port of Tauranga's success in becoming New Zealand's major international hub port.
Transhipment, where containers are transferred from one service to another, has been growing significantly since 2016, when the port completed its $350m capacity expansion programme to accommodate bigger container ships.
Transhipment now makes up 32.1 per cent of the containers handled at Tauranga.
New Zealand shippers can access fast, big ship services that only call in Tauranga by utilising the sea links between Tauranga and Timaru, Napier, Nelson or Wellington. Pilkington said Port of Tauranga's long-term agreements with key customers gave it the assurance to plan ahead for increases in cargo growth.
The port recently renewed its 10-year operating agreement with major customer Oji Fibre Solutions.
"Having the necessary infrastructure is one thing, but it is also vital to have the relationships to ensure we have the freight volume to attract big ship services.
"We have long-term agreements in place with key cargo owners such as Oji Fibre Solutions, Fonterra's shipping supplier Kotahi Logistics and Zespri International," Pilkington said.
Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said the number of containers transferred by rail to and from Port of Tauranga's inland freight hub, MetroPort Auckland, increased 4.3 per cent in the year to June 30.
Port of Tauranga recently announced a partnership with Tainui Group Holdings to support the development of the Ruakura Inland Port in Hamilton, about midway between Tauranga and MetroPort Auckland.
"This will help Waikato-based importers and exporters unlock the significant efficiencies to be gained by being directly linked by rail to the big ship services calling at Tauranga," Cairns said.
Port of Tauranga also expanded its MetroPort Christchurch inland freight hub by constructing a large warehouse that is being leased by associate company Coda Group to handle Westland Milk's dairy exports.
Cairns said development of the group's network of ports, inland freight hubs and logistics services ensured importers and exporters in key cargo-producing areas throughout the country could access the efficiencies offered by bigger ships.
"The availability of rail and coastal shipping to consolidate cargo at Port of Tauranga, and the efficiency of the big ship services, means we can also offer a lower-carbon supply chain to our customers."