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POAL LINK Depot Re-Opening - Updated Operational Requirements

To all users of POAL on dock Link Facility

POAL are pleased to advise that we intend to re-open the POAL on dock Link Facility at Fergusson Terminal from Monday 18th May 2020, however in doing so we need to re-establish updated business rules and allocations to manage the capacity more effectively.

One of POAL’s primary goals is the proactive managing of our yard capacity and optimising our operations so that all key stakeholders in the supply chain can experience a reliable and sustainable level of productivity and service.

All parties will be aware that we have over the last 2 years been undergoing major infrastructure works and operational changes in preparation for automation of the Fergusson Terminal operation. This has resulted in constrained operating capacity which has led to yard congestion and at times deteriorating productivity levels, both at the shipside and on the road in terms of truck turn times. Another factor outside our control is vessel schedule delays causing congestion on the berth and in the market.

The automating of the Terminal means using Automated Straddles (A-Strads) in the main terminal truck grid and terminal yard stacks. It is a complex and significant change to our operations compared to how we operate today.

This project was unfortunately put on hold as a consequence of NZ moving to Level 4 lock down on the 25th March 2020 and with recent changes to the COVID-19 status and now operating under Level 2, we are able to restart the Automation project.

In doing so however the Container Terminal operations team have had to plan for handing back terminal yard capacity to the Project team which will take effect during the week of the 18th May 2020. The current project timeline is to recommence a further vessel operational test in mid-late June and then terminal go live in late July/early August. As we restart, this is still a fluid timeline to manage.

Basis of the reduction in yard capacity, as we restart for Automation, we have had to seriously review the processes for handling of export empties and import return empty dehires into the on-dock Link Facility which is why it has taken us a little longer to commit to restarting this service.

In preparation for re-initiating Automation we therefore need to advise of the following requirements;

Link Import Dehire

  • Units must be pre-advised or marked as LINK in PortConnect
  • Shipping Line to assign import returns as per nominated levels – refer separate email from POAL to Lines regarding their allocations
  • Please only assign import returns to LINK from vessels arriving late in the week or over the weekend, thereby targeting delivery into LINK later in the week and avoiding our busy days of Monday/Tuesday
  • Restricted to dry/reefer containers only (Does not include Open top and Flatracks)

Empty Export movements

  • Shipping Line to provide 5 -10 day forecast of empty vessel loading
  • Receival only 5 days prior to vessel arrival
  • Monday and Tuesday - Restricted to 3 tri-axle trailer per hour at any one time per transport operator
  • Wednesday to Saturday - Restricted to 4 tri-axle trailer per hour at any one time per transport operator
  • Transport Operators to closely monitor number of trucks for empty depot processing
  • Drivers are only to present themselves when confirmed that containers are pre-advised
  • All drivers are required to utilise both lanes to the MT depot up to the pedestrian walkway
  • Drivers only to get out of their truck when they get to the front of the lane to get processed – note we are expecting to implement ‘NextUp text to queue’ process in the coming weeks which should assist the process further and limit the need for drivers to exit their trucks. Details to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
  • 40GP and 40HC will be block stacked together within the empty yard


  • Lines will be advised of a combined TEU allocation within the empty yard footprint – this allocation includes both LINK empties (via the truck/rail gate), Export empties (via the truck/rail gate) and LINK (via the berth – only if all customs/MPI obligations have been met).
  • POAL will monitor empty stock levels and will notify the respective teams by email as utilisation levels reach 85%, 95% and 100% of allocation respectively

POAL will consider utilisation vs allocation when making any decision to suspend empty container receivals via the empty gate for any line based on berth and terminal demand across all Line Operators, vessel schedules and peaking demand. We trust Lines will appreciate that when services suffer schedule changes resulting in cut and run’s or offloading other Ports cargo at the Terminal then capacity will be restricted, and we will have to consider all of these factors when managing requirements.

The capacity allocation is not a new concept as we were operating under this prior to the lock down, however due to the capacity constraints for the next few months and the uncertainty of volume throughput due to post COVID-19 recovery and economic impacts, we are taking a conservative approach to ensure we do not find ourselves overcommitted with deteriorating productivity levels. We expect once Automation is in place and operating we can revisit the allocations again.

POAL will separately confirm to Lines the working allocations to take effect from Monday 18th May 2020.



For further information contact:
Customer Service
P: 09 348 5100 ext.1
[email protected]