Worker on wharf
Essential People

Proud to be essential workers

This year our people once again showed the essential nature of the work they do for our customers and the community. They adapted to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 health/lockdown constraints, ensuring cargo kept moving, working with customers to provide solutions for receiving goods, and implementing systems to operate in a safe and healthy manner.

The flexibility and resilience of staff was outstanding and was the main ingredient in CentrePort being able to maintain its business throughout the year, particularly during the Alert Level 4 lockdown.

These efforts were recognised by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during one of her daily COVID-19 update briefings.

New ways of working have ensured our food and goods have been unpacked from ships and aircraft, loaded into trucks and delivered to retailers, as well as kept our exports flowing.

“At Wellington’s CentrePort the team has eliminated face-to-face contact, physical paperwork and have adopted digital kiosks, radio comms, automated weighbridges and virtual planning meetings.”

– Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, 11 May 2020.

Ships continued to carry essential cargoes throughout, and the people who made that happen were prepared to innovate to meet the health and safety requirements under COVID-19 restrictions.

Social distancing was achieved, and physical contact was eliminated – while the trucks, trains and ships continued to come and go.

In addition, senior managers gave up offices and worked remotely to create additional messroom areas. That meant cargo handlers were able to have well-earned cuppas while keeping a safe distance from workmates.

Innovations like these happened in ports up and down the country. They were achieved with great cooperation, from not only our port workers but also exporters and importers who helped those working on the vital supply chain network to adjust to new, safe ways of working.

“Our people were proud to be essential workers. We got into a rhythm and we just dealt with everything that popped up to the point where we didn’t have to tell people what to do, they knew what to do. People embraced the challenge; it brought us together as one team.”

– Mark Thompson, General Manager Logistics.

We recognise that the COVID-19 lockdown was uncertain and stressful for many of our employees and their families.

CentrePort has a partnership with two health providers, Habit and Onslow Medical Centre, to provide medical support for our staff.

CentrePort also provided special leave for any employees who had been overseas so they could self-isolate before returning to work, to ensure a safe working environment for them and everyone else. This relieved pressure on staff who would otherwise have had to use annual leave or sick leave, so they could self-isolate safely and not be financially disadvantaged.

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Looking after our people, our customers – and pets across New Zealand.

Richard Graham, Warehouse and Logistics Manager, Masterpet.

Masterpet was first established in 1961 with a vision to create innovative products for the New Zealand pet industry. Since then, the business has expanded significantly as the popularity of pets in Kiwi households has continued to grow.

“I think everyone who has a pet will agree that they are not just a pet – they are part of the family,” says Richard Graham, Warehouse and Logistics Manager New Zealand.

“We believe that life is better with a pet, and I think this helps explain why our business and the pet industry has expanded so much over the years. People want to provide the very best for their pets as they are part of their family and that’s why we are here.”

The Masterpet business has three main areas – Masterpet Specialty, Blackhawk premium pet food and the VitaPet range of animal care products.

Masterpet has been working with CentrePort since the early 1970s importing products into their new Wellington National Distribution Centre located in Gracefield, Seaview.

Masterpet products are sourced and imported from around the world with key countries such as Australia, China and Thailand providing the majority of the goods.

“Centreport has always been at the heart of our import business and they continue to support us as we have continued to expand over the years,” says Graham.

The Masterpet warehouse has the capacity to hold and unload 17 containers at any one time.

“The containers arrive from the port and are devanned into our warehouse. We then sort, store and pick Items for distribution to customers throughout New Zealand.”

Masterpet imports between 900 – 1,000 TEU a year through CentrePort. During the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown Masterpet was classified as an essential service and had to keep products moving.

“COVID-19 lockdown was an incredibly busy time for us. Like a lot of other essential businesses – pet food and pet care products were amongst the consumables people were stocking up on over lockdown. The fact that CentrePort could help us keep things moving really made what was a challenging time a lot easier.”

– Richard Graham, Warehouse and Logistics Manager, Masterpet.

“At the moment there is a lot of uncertainty in the global shipping industry and unfortunately we can never guarantee when things will arrive. CentrePort is working closely with us to help adjust our container flow enabling us to prioritise urgent containers so that we can meet our customer’s expectations. It does take quite a bit of work to make sure we get the right containers through at the right times, and a strong relationship with the port is essential to making this happen,” says Graham.