Tauranga branch manager Lance Chadwick. Photo / George Novak 220920gn35bop.JPG
Jordan Lilley, 27, has worked as the company's night supervisor for eight years. Photo / George Novak 220920gn36bop.JPG
The Mainfreight timeline. Photo / George Novak 220920gn41bop.JPG
By Zoe Hunter
Global logistics company Mainfreight's largest transport branch for its New Zealand network in Mount Maunganui is now complete. Zoe Hunter tours the new $40 million facility.
Every 24 hours, about 800 tonnes of freight can move through Mainfreight's brand new $40 million facility in Mount Maunganui.
Each week, more than 200 containers from the Port of Tauranga can be moved through the global logistics company.
Spanning 6.1ha on Mangatawa land parallel to Tauranga's Eastern Link, the 18,200sq m freight terminal is the largest transport branch for the company's New Zealand network.
A giant globe sits proudly on top of the new Mainfreight building.
The words 'Special people, special company' are printed on its exterior.
Ten flags dance in the wind at the top of flag poles lined at its entrance and koru designs weave over concrete walls in the carpark.
Solar panels line the roof and a truck wash station, recycling 80 per cent of its water, is at the rear of the carpark that includes electric vehicle stations.
Inside, the sound of birds chirp from a hidden speaker.
A live, green, moss wall with the letter M for Mainfreight is featured at the entranceway.
A large whale with Māori designs, depicting a Māori legend of the arrival of a family of whales known as Mangatawa, Hikurangi and Kopukairoa, stretches as tall as the ceiling.
Two ancient shells discovered in April 2019 during the excavation of the tunnel 3.5m deep are framed at the top of the stairs.
Photos of Mainfreight's founder and chairman Bruce Plested's "legendary" first J1 Bedford truck and the first Tauranga depot, opened in 1988, also hang on the walls.
Tucked away in a hallway are sleep pods for people who need some shut-eye after a long shift.
Upstairs at reception, the names of every city where Mainfreight has a New Zealand branch are printed on the wall.
Floor to ceiling windows gives a full view of the new 18,200sq m terminal.
On one side sit the transport employees and on the other are the air and ocean experts who look after the imports and exports. They are 'team members' not staff to the boss.
Displayed in a corridor connecting the two teams are the Three Pillars of Mainfreight: Culture, Family and Philosophy which have underpinned the company's values and ethics from its earliest days.
Soon, a legend's board will also be erected naming every team member who has worked there for 10, 30, 40 and even 50 years.
The freight - by the numbers
Tauranga branch manager Lance Chadwick said there were about 800 tonnes of freight coming in and out of the building every 24 hours.
"It is a 24-hour operation," he said. "The Port of Tauranga being so proactive has helped grow our local containers movements to around 250 to 275 TEU per week.
"This has helped our air and ocean as well as our warehouse divisions."
A total of 22 truck and trailer units went through the facility every night, he said.
The new site gives an extra 8000sq m of space, compared to its site at Te Maire St, for the team to work.
Chadwick said online shopping has increased volumes, although larger volumes of food and building products have increased immensely.
"We are looking forward to this Christmas. We are expecting volumes to increase a lot more."
He said spa pools were very popular. "At one stage we had about eight to 10 spa pools coming in at a time."
There was also an increase in trampolines come Christmas time, he said.
Branch manager clocks two decades at Mainfreight
Lance Chadwick is one of about 90 team members and owner-drivers who moved into their new building on September 12.
Chadwick worked for Daily Freightways from 1976 before Mainfreight acquired the freight company in 1994.
Next year, Chadwick will celebrate 45 years in the industry, including 26 for Mainfreight.
The reason he had stayed for so long was simple, he said.
"It is a great company to work for. That's why every branch has a legend's board."
From Rotorua to Tauranga and back again
Jordan Lilley has worked as the company's night supervisor for eight years.
The 27-year-old said he started working for the Rotorua branch in 2012.
Lilley, whose shift starts at 1pm and finishes at 1am, will load line haul destinations to every city in the North Island.
Despite his long shifts, he said he had made many friends working at Mainfreight.
"They are very loyal, a good bunch of guys," he said.
Living in Rotorua, Lilley travels each day from there to Tauranga to work in the new facility, which he said was easy to do with the new TEL.
"The new facility is definitely something to be proud of."
1978 - The journey begins. Mainfreight is founded by Bruce Plested on March 6
1979 - The company's 100-year vision is adopted
1984 - The first Air and Ocean branches open in Christchurch and Auckland
1986 - The company welcomes its 100th team member
1989 - The company begins operating in Australia as Mainline Distribution
1988 - Mainfreight Tauranga is established
1994 - Mainfreight acquires Daily Freightways and Chemcouriers in New Zealand
1997 - The company values are celebrated in the form of Three Pillars
1998 - Milestone: Company opens its 50th branch and welcomes its 1000th member
2001 - The Mainfreight Tauranga branch gets an upgrade
2003 - Air and Ocean Tauranga is established, starting with a team of one. Mainfreight also acquires Owens Group in New Zealand. (Balance acquired in 2006.)
2004 - Milestone: Mainfreight opens its 100th branch
2006 - The company's Otahuhu flagship site is opened. The team grows to 3000.
2007 - A US acquisition provides the basis for Mainfreight USA
2011 - Milestone: Mainfreight opens 200th branch, also acquires Wim Bosman, securing a European footprint. Team grows to 5000.
2013 - Mainfreight's global warehousing footprint reaches 409,730sq m
2014 - Milestone: Mainfreight is established in 20 countries
2015 - Globally, the company moves more than 250,000 20ft equivalent containers
2018 - Mainfreight signs the Mangatawa 99-year ground lease for the new Tauranga site
2019 - Company breaks ground and the new Tauranga branch build begins. Team grows to 8000
2020 - The new Tauranga branch build is finished and the branch is open for business