About half of all kiwifruit exports out of Northland are via the seasonal fortnightly shipping service by the Mediterranean Shipping Company from Northport to Brisbane and Singapore.
Northport said about half of all kiwifruit exported from Northland now leave on this service, initiated three years ago, up from 25 per cent in the first year.
The kiwifruit go from Brisbane and Singapore to the rest of the world.
"The service is available for any kind of container shipment and has improved markedly the sea freight transit times for local importers and exporters.
"Even logs are now being containerised to take advantage of the MSC service, allowing exporters to reach new niche markets more efficiently through the hubs of Brisbane and Singapore," Northport said.
The volume of container traffic through Northport continued to grow and the company said it offered a one-stop shop for both importers and exporters.
"We can receive and store cargo, pack and devan containers if required, provide VGM compliance certification, and load or unload cargo using our two mobile harbour cranes.
"We're delighted to see an increase in the number of refrigerated containers being shipped through Northport. Uptake has been mainly by kiwifruit exporters."
Last season the kiwifruit industry contributed $76 million to the Northland economy, which was made up of $55m in Kerikeri and $21m from Whangārei.
The picking season runs from March to June, with the peak starting mid-to-end April. The Gold variety is usually picked first, followed by Green kiwifruit.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has launched an advertising campaign called Opportunity Grows Here to get New Zealanders involved in this season's harvest given the lack of foreign pickers, who usually do much of the work.
Jobs are mainly in the Bay of Plenty, but are also in Hawke's Bay, Poverty Bay, Auckland, Northland, Tasman and South Waikato.
Last November the Government announced 2000 seasonal workers from the Pacific could enter New Zealand between January and March to help with the summer harvest in the horticulture and wine-growing sectors. Of those, only 30 to 40 workers are believed to be in Northland.
Almost all packhouses have told NZ Kiwifruit Growers they will be paying at least the living wage of $22.10 per hour. Kiwifruit picking is expected to top that, with an average of $24 per hour paid last year when the minimum wage was $18.90 an hour.