Oji Fibre Solutions has extended its freight agreement with Port of Tauranga for another decade. Photo by Getty Images.

Oji Fibre Solutions has extended its freight agreement with Port of Tauranga for another decade.

The pulp, cardboard and packaging maker has committed to consolidate most of its import and export volumes through the port. It says the new agreement includes options for scalability which should provide more flexibility to expand for growth.

Oji Fibre Solutions operates the Kinleith and Tasman pulp mills, the Penrose recycled paper mill in Auckland, and cardboard plants there and in Levin, Christchurch, Sydney, Melbourne and Yatala, south of Brisbane.

It leases a 22,000 square-metre warehouse which Port of Tauranga built at its container terminal in 2017.

Oji’s Lodestar logistics arm handles more than 70,000 containers a year and also shifts 1.4 tonnes of cargo for export and 2.5 million tonnes domestically. It operates two break bulk vessels to get its own product, and that of other producers of paper, timber and logs, to northern Asia.

In December Oji formed the Bearing 360 joint venture with domestic logistics operator Netlogix to gain scale and help maintain the viability of the declining number of shipping lines coming to New Zealand.

Lodestar general manager Murray Horne said the renewed agreement with Port of Tauranga will enable it to keep seeking operational synergies across the export supply chain for Oji and its other customers in the central North Island and Eastern Bay of Plenty.

“By utilising the infrastructure at the port, and the rail and road links to our production facilities, we deliver the most logical solution for our business,” he said.

Port of Tauranga is the country’s largest export operation. It handled the equivalent of 1.18 million 20-foot containers in the June year, almost 9 percent more than a year earlier.

It is looking at options to extend its 770-metre quay by up to 385 metres to keep up with container growth which has averaged 8 percent a year in the 15 years since 2002. It plans to add a ninth container crane in 2020.

Chief executive Mark Cairns said the new agreement with Oji strengthens the firms’ partnership and helps both companies build their businesses.

“Partnerships of this nature allow both parties to plan rationally for the long-term,” he said.

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