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ContainerCo staff across the company’s seven container parks have been working incredibly hard to process and turn around containers in record time

Shipping containers available in record time to ensure exporting continues

New Zealand container storage and service company ContainerCo is sourcing and making shipping containers available in record time for New Zealand exporters to move goods across the world.


ContainerCo managing director Ken Harris says since the Covid-19 lockdown, staff across the company’s seven container parks have been working incredibly hard with support from international shipping companies and the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to turn around the processing of containers in record time. 

Mr Harris says the usual process – receiving, survey, repair, clean and re-release – can take up to 12 days, but the commitment from onsite staff, as well as a willingness from shipping companies and streamlined red tape by MoT, has sped this up significantly. The new record is now just four hours.
He says that at the beginning of the Level 4 Covid-19 lockdown, there was reported concern over not enough shipping containers available in New Zealand for exporters due to fewer containers with imported goods arriving into the country. ContainerCo undertook a stocktake of all its containers, as well as putting the call out to shipping companies and providing reports to the MoT.

Streamlining the process

Since New Zealand went into lockdown on 26 March, ContainerCo has processed 44,309 containers, of which 26,149 have gone back into circulation, and it still has 32,200 dry and refrigerated 20 and 40 ft containers ready to go.
“We need to ensure products such as milk powder, meat, apples and kiwifruit get to global markets and keep the New Zealand economy moving. Our team have certainly stepped up to the mark,” Mr Harris says.
“Our staff, as essential service workers, have really embraced the responsibility of the role, and with willingness from the shipping companies and the MoT, we have been able to significantly streamline the process of getting containers back into circulation. On average, 75% of containers need some repairing, so it’s always a big task at hand,” he adds.

A focus on innovation

ContainerCo has four container facilities in Auckland, two in Tauranga, and one in Napier and Christchurch, all handling hundreds of thousands of shipping containers. “The company is strongly focused on innovation, such as our IT systems,” says Dr Margaret Harris, ContainerCo’s manager of innovation and strategy.
The business had already upgraded critical technology prior to the lockdown, she adds. “There was significant focus last year on making sure the right tools were in place, which paid off when this crisis emerged. It was a classic case of ‘prior preparation and planning promoting smooth performance’.”
Dr Harris believes transitioning other teams to working from home has also played a role in the success of making more containers available, as staff have been able to perform critical tasks while still undertaking childcare and remaining safe inside their home bubble. “Without a doubt that has allowed our staff to carry on as close to normal as possible,” she says.

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