Talks of a merger between Auckland and Tauranga ports as reported in the NZ Herald bring mixed emotions for me.
"A merger would have major implications for all New Zealand ports, particularly in the North Island. The companies acknowledged there would be competition issues."
You think? And what happens after they have the largest market share, will they start behaving like Auckland and Wellington airports who make a disproportionate amount of money for the capital invested.
Tauranga, the country's No 2 container operator, set up the country's first inland port, Metroport, in June 1999 in South Auckland and it had been siphoning off Ports of Auckland business. … With Tauranga's predatory tactics a constant threat, the pressure came on for Auckland to seek more of its business from the rural export hinterland south of Taupo.
Tauranga's Metroport was a classic example of a small company using guerrilla warfare to take on the big company and succeeding! Auckland then replicated it in lower North Island. If I were Auckland merging would be a great idea. I get back the volume I lost.
And finally two questions the Herald didn't answer. Practically how do a listed company, and a delisted company (owed by councils) effectively merge? Also I find the timing very interesting as Jon Mason has just left.
All that said. If they do merge it would be no different that any other big company with branches in various locations. It will also be interesting to watch the impact on Transport and Rail volumes.