In a NZ kiwifruit industry first, 160 refrigerated containers, containing 832,000 trays of Zespri Kiwifruit, have been loaded and delivered to the Port of Tauranga for export in a 12-hour period.

This new shipping record for the industry meant that over the 12-hour period on Saturday, 4 June a container was loaded with kiwifruit every four-and-a-half minutes.

Tauranga Kiwifruit Logistics General Manager Ian Mearns said the record number of containers loaded was a testament to the dedication of truck drivers, data entry operators, coolstore staff, transport coordinators and the checkpoint personnel at the Port of Tauranga.

Mr Mearns, who oversees the logistics operation for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry at the Port of Tauranga, said while the loading of 160 containers in one day was a record, he wanted it to become a standard for the industry.

“As the industry continues to grow and evolve we must constantly be looking at ways to increase our productivity. The length of the season doesn’t really change so as productivity improves we just have to handle more kiwifruit.

“To do this we employ technology and communication tools to work smarter. We look forward to the challenge of 160 containers a day being a regular occurrence,” Mr Mearns said.

ZESPRI’s GM Supply Chain Sally Gardiner said the strength of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry is its unity, and this kind of achievement underlines how the industry works together to meet the needs of our international markets.

Ms Gardiner said the 2011 kiwifruit season was on track as planned, despite wet weather disrupting picking operations.

“The industry made the most of the fine days and really worked hard to get the fruit picked when the weather allowed it. This means we have now almost finished picking ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit and are 85 percent through the harvest of ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit,” Ms Gardiner said.

During the 2011 season ZESPRI will fill 63 chartered vessels, as well as a further 7,000 containers, with over 100 million trays of New Zealand kiwifruit to be shipped to 55 countries around the world.

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