A new $11 million cool store opens today at the Port of Tauranga, ushering in a new era in the storage and containerisation of kiwifruit to overseas markets.
It replaced the 48-year-old kiwifruit cool store which port company chief executive Mark Cairns said was ''well and truly at the end of its life''.
The kiwifruit industry teamed up with the port to make sure that wharf-side capacity kept pace with rising exports.
''Kiwifruit has been a remarkable success story following the recovery from Psa,'' Cairns said.
The new cool store's better thermal efficiency and modern refrigeration technology meant it used 40 per cent less electricity.
''It is also much more environmentally friendly,'' he said.
Construction of the cool store represented the second phase of the long-term plan involving the port company and Tauranga Kiwifruit Logistics which contracts to deliver kiwifruit to the point of export to world markets.
The port and TKL Logistics have entered into a 15-year commitment for the cool store which, together with the truck loading and unloading area, occupied 7560 sq m of land behind the port company's offices on Salisbury Ave.
TKL Logistics chief executive Ian Mearns said the cool store was designed to be multi-use, but with specific requirements around loading reefer vessels at the Mount Maunganui wharf and loading trays of kiwifruit into containers to be shipped through Sulphur Point.
It was built by the port exclusively for TKL Logistics. ''With the forecasted growth, it was critical to have this infrastructure in place.''
Kiwifruit export volumes have been increasing by 20 per cent a year since 2014 when exports began to recover from the impact of Psa disease. Zespri planned to double global sales to $4.5 billion by 2025.
Mearns said a huge driver for the cool store was the need to stop kiwifruit from warming up and keep it at optimal storage conditions.
No new jobs were being created as staff were transferring from the old cool store to the new, he said.
Kiwifruit was shipped using specialist refrigerated vessels to markets equipped with the necessary port infrastructure. Otherwise, containers were used, with the proportion of containerised exports eventually expected to make up about half of all shipments from New Zealand.
Port of Tauranga's new kiwifruit cool store
- 4200 sq m of cool store
- 360 sq m of kiwifruit quality inspection area
- 3000 sq m of canopy truck loading and unloading area.