WASHINGTON: The Port of Tauranga has been recognised for its commitment to protecting New Zealanders against biological and biochemical substances. The Biosecurity Operational Excellence at Port of Tauranga scheme was one of the recipients to be recognised as a Biosecurity hero at the 2017 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards. The scheme was implemented in February this year with the goal of pursuing ‘Biosecurity Operational Excellence at the Port of Tauranga.
The aim of the scheme is to strengthen MPI’s current screening and inspection programmes, and make everyone involved aware of the common biosecurity risks and how to do their bit to identify and manage those risks. Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says the winners of these inaugural awards have shown a real commitment to protecting New Zealand. “These awards recognise that it is a shared responsibility for all New Zealanders, and celebrate the efforts of people who are doing their bit for biosecurity every day. “Biosecurity Excellence at Port of Tauranga received the Industry award for their partnership with industry and government to build a port community committed to biosecurity excellence with the aim of no biosecurity incursions coming through their port.”
Port of Tauranga is New Zealand’s largest and fastest-growing port, handling more than 22 million tonnes of import and export cargo annually. In the past year, the Port processed more than a million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) of containerised cargo, the first port in New Zealand to do so. Biosecurity is an integral part of the Port’s operations and is a joint effort.
Port of Tauranga works with importers and exporters, service providers, the Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Customs Service and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. In 2014, industry representatives Kiwifruit Vine Health and Port of Tauranga launched a partnership focused on achieving operational biosecurity excellence at the Port. It included an awareness programme for staff. “It’s about everyone doing their bit and working together to protect New Zealand’s environment and primary industries from unwanted biosecurity risks,” says Port of Tauranga Chief Executive Mark Cairns. “By having a heightened awareness of what to look for in day-to-day operations, all staff within the port community can play a part in keeping unwanted pests out of port operations.” A target pest has been the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, which likes to hitchhike on containers and has the potential to impact significantly on horticulture sectors. Another risk was cruise passengers disembarking with fresh produce that could be hosting fruit flies.