VIEWPOINT Supply Chain, a tripartite collaboration for North Island logistics, was launched on Thursday.

The initiative was launched on Thursday by leaders from Napier Port, Kiwi Rail and the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA).

Napier Port CEO Todd Dawson said 18 months ago the port began testing customer demand for a North Island-focused supply chain service that offered a personalised, tailored approach to warehousing and logistics.

“Off the back of recent years’ supply chain disruptions, importers, exporters and freight forwarders had been telling us for a long time that their pain points were around efficiency, wasted time and cost, and lack of flexibility and responsiveness when moving cargo between distribution centres and ports,” Mr Dawson said.

“We set out to change that by matching the visibility Napier Port has over shipping logistics, such as the real time arrivals and departures of vessels, with timings for road and rail transport. Customers and freight forwarders know every time they pick up the phone to call Viewpoint, one of our team will answer and will find a solution that saves them time, cost or removes waste.”

KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said rail is central to New Zealand’s economy, especially considering more than 90% of all imports and exports require access to sea freight and ports.

“The KiwiRail team have worked closely with Napier Port for many years now. Re-opening the rail line through to Napier recently, after it was significantly damaged during Cyclone Gabrielle, means we can support both Napier Port and their customers to move import and export freight more efficiently around the North Island – and with lower emissions,” Mr Reidy said.

“One benefit Viewpoint delivers is the ability to move full train loads both ways, because they are able to match customers’ full and empty containers with shipping calls and other transport operators. It removes waste in the rail component of the supply chain and shares the value created.”

Mr Reidy said Viewpoint would pave the way for projects such as Kiwi Rail’s Regional Freight Hub near Palmerston North and CEDA’s Te Utanganui, the Central New Zealand Distribution Hub.

CEDA chief executive Jerry Shearman said the agency’s primary goal is to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits for central New Zealand and Napier Port was a key partner in achieving this.

“Hawke’s Bay is a strong connector in the central region, underpinned by Napier Port’s depots and inland port in Manawatū and their strategic partnership with Te Utanganui, the multi modal distribution network for imports and exports throughout central New Zealand and beyond. Viewpoint facilitates this connectivity and drives efficiencies in the supply chain, which also encourages sustainable connections between regions,” Mr Shearman said.

Mr Dawson said Viewpoint benefits customers and freight forwarders directly, but wider than that, the collaborations between key stakeholders in the North Island supply chain, such as KiwiRail and CEDA, shows how successfully ports and others can partner to benefit not just their immediate region, but ultimately New Zealand

“When you start working across regions, with other stakeholders who share the same social, economic and environmental goals you begin to deliver scale and a solid case study for rolling out a national infrastructure and transport network that will enable the smooth flow of domestic supplies, as well as import and export freight, which is essentially the backbone of our country,” he said.