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Independent report into automation project completed

Independent Review into POAL Automation Project - FINAL.pdf

Ports of Auckland (POAL) today released the findings of a new review into the now-abandoned automation project at the Fergusson Container Terminal. 

The automation project started in 2016 with the goal of future proofing the capacity of the port’s Fergusson Container Terminal. But it was cancelled by the Ports of Auckland Board in June after failing to meet expectations.

At the Mayor’s request, the Board agreed to an independent review of the project’s governance processes; as well as aspects of procurement and delivery. The Board appointed independent infrastructure expert Mark Binns to undertake the review. 

 Ports of Auckland Board Chair Jan Dawson presented Mr Binns’ report to POAL’s sole shareholder, Auckland Council. 

Jan Dawson says the report has identified a number of areas where systems and structures can be improved. 

“I want to thank Mark for the work in completing this report,” she says. 

“I appreciate the insights and recommendations Mark has made. The Board accepts these suggestions, and change will be implemented.” Jan Dawson says the former leadership at Ports of Auckland undertook the automation project for the right reasons. 

“The aim was to lift capacity, productivity and profitability without further port expansion or reclamation,” she says.

“The automation project was pioneering and involved new and complex technology. Its cancellation and associated write-off of capital expenditure are regrettable. But the improvements we make now will leave us better placed to consider major capital projects in the future.” 

In August, the port established a new Project Management Office to support change management and provide governance structures for large projects within the business. 


Notes for media: The automation of the terminal involved a complex integration project. This included multiple vendors; equipment and software applications. The aim was to design and implement an operation with targeted productivity levels, and the necessary level of system safety assurance. 

Following two independent reviews the Port Board announced in June this year it would end the automation project. As well as not performing to expectations; there were also on-going delays and no guaranteed finish assurance date. 

A pdf copy of the report is attached. ​

For more information: 

Julie Wagener 

Head of Communications 

M: +64 27 421 6697 

E: [email protected]​​