Port of Auckland PEST Analysis


In New Zealand, the popularity of the cruise industry has skyrocketed in the past years. In 2014, the passenger numbers saw almost 80% increase compared to how it was five years ago.  This growth has been attributed to increase in number of passengers coming from different countries. Visitors coming from Australia have registered a 39% increase, 25% increase from United Kingdom and 30% increase from Germany (Cooper, 2014). During the current 2014-2015 season, it is expected that the number of passengers will remain at this high level. This will entail welcoming a total of 125 cruises, which will be bringing more than 200,000 passengers. The cruise industry possesses various potential benefits to various tourism hubs around the country since the cruise ships tend to stop at various ports within the country. The continued growth of this market is dependent on the cohesive approaches that will be taken by the country’s tourism stakeholders. Some of the challenges facing the industry include availability of adequate infrastructure for visitors, enhancing quality of onshore excursions, streamlining ports of entry and transportation of passengers in city centres (Cooper, 2014).

The port of Auckland is located in Auckland city, which is found in the Northern Island of New Zealand. It is the most populous and largest city in the country. Port of Auckland supports the cruise industry in the city by marine, logistics and berthage services (Ports of Auckland, 2013). This takes place at the Waitemata Harbor. This involves managing every cruise call logistics, processing passengers, working with shipping agents, tourism and hospitality providers, customs among others. It is a vital “exchange port” where individuals normally start and finish their cruises. Port of Auckland is also the only winter cruise port found in New Zealand (Brunn, 2012).

PEST Analysis


On the political aspect, port of Auckland seems to be on a favourable position. This is because its operations are in accordance with plans that both the local and national government have of enhancing economic growth. There are a lot of economic benefits that arise as a result of the availability of this port. This means that the government would be willing to see that the port continues to operate in the most efficient manner so that the benefits are not curtailed in future. As a result, most of the policies devised regarding the cruise ship industry tend to favour the port in one way or another. In order to ensure that New Zealand takes a substantial share of the global cruise market, the wing of the government involved with tourism is working in partnership with other stakeholders in this industry whereby Port of Auckland is one of them. Some of the issues being deliberated upon in this partnership is how to improve the experience that cruise passengers normally have, product quality, improving infrastructure and other sector issues. Tourism New Zealand is also playing an important role marketing the country’s cruise industry internationally. Most of the visitors that have been attracted by such marketing concepts are likely to use the Port of Auckland due to its location and the infrastructure surrounding it (Plunkett, 2014).

Currently, the Ports of Auckland has consent from the relevant authorities to make developments in and around the port. Most of these consents usually do not come around easily due to the politics involved. They tend to take time due to the different interests that the political stakeholders involved have. Among the consent that the port has is that of extending the Bledisloe wharf. The enabling work is already underway, and it is expected to take around 18 months. The port also has the consent to demolish the Marsden wharf and construct the Holcim Cement Silo. For the Mardsen wharf, the work has commenced and involves removing the entire deck. Construction of the Holcim is expected to be complete by 2016 (Pryor, 2015).

The port is currently thinking of applying for reclamation consent to the city council, which will enable them to create more room for freight handling. The port first wants the Auckland Unitary Plan to become effective before it can apply for the reclamation consent. The situation is likely to attract much public interest, and therefore there will be extensive prior consultation.  When the public interest is high, politics usually take the centre stage. This means that whether the consent will be accepted or not, the decision by the city council will be mostly political. As a result, it might take some time before it is approved due to the bureaucracies that exist in most political offices.

Despite the Bledisloe wharf extension being approved by the city council, there are various controversies surrounding it. There is a fresh legal action that has been taken against this extension. There have been legal bids in the past that failed to curtail this extension. Individuals opposing the extension argue that extending the wharf would result to Waitemata Harbour being too narrow. The situation seems to have a lot of politics in it based on how the events are unfolding (Pryor, 2015).


The location of the pot in the largest city in the country puts it in a favourable position to influence the economic activities in the region. The cruise industry has brought about a significant economic growth in New Zealand and Auckland in particular. In 2010, the industry contributed around $190.9m to the country’s GDP. This figure grew to over $340 in 2012. This shows that as the cruise industry grows, it brings about substantial economic benefits to the city. The city of Auckland captures the biggest share of these benefits. In 2010 it accounted for $65.6m in direct expenditure and around $63m contribution to the GDP (Maher & Stewart, 2012). The reason why the cruise industry contributes this much to the GDP is due to the presence of the Ports of Auckland, which serves a substantial number of passengers in the region compared to other ports in the country. The infrastructure around the city has played a huge role in ensuring that this is achieved.

Apart from the cruise ships, the port is visited by over 1,600 vessels for other commercial purposes. It is the largest commercial port in the country, and handles goods worth more than $20 billion on a yearly basis. This capacity exceeds that of its major competitor Port of Tauranga. Port of Auckland handles 40% of the country’s exports and 60% of the imports in terms of the movements. The port moves more than 4.5 million tonnes “breakbulk” every year (Dowling, 2013). This is just but to mention a few of other activities that take place around this port apart from the cruising activities. The data provided shows how integral the port is to the country’s economic development. Improvements in the port will come about with economic growth since most of the economic boosting activities will be improved in one way or another.

Port of Auckland also creates employment opportunities to individuals residing in the city. The port usually has both permanent and shift employees. Presence of both types of employees ensures that the services carried around the port are executed in 24/7 basis. This brings about efficiency and takes care of the time value of money. The employment opportunities created work towards boosting economic growth. This is because the levels of unemployment are reduced. When the levels of unemployment are low, the dependency levels are also low.  This means that individuals involved in income generating activities will not spend most of their income supporting the unemployed. The funds that would have been spent this way are usually channelled to other activities that help to improve the economic development of Auckland (Vogel, 2012).

Apart from the port providing employment directly, it also provides job opportunities to the residents of the city indirectly. According to Dowling (2013), more than 170,000 jobs in Auckland rely on trades taking place through the port. This means that the port has an impact on a third of the city’s economy. Indirect employment opportunities are also created through the tourism associated with the cruise industry. This port acts as an ‘exchange port’ whereby tourists commence their cruises and end them at the very same port. This means that tourists involved with these ports tend to spend their days and nights around Auckland city. This is a favourable opportunity for other individuals involved with other transport activities like taxis. They usually take the tourists to and from the port and maybe around the city to places where they are spending their nights. The tourists also tend to book hotels for their stay since most of them spend some time around in order to experience what the city has to offer. Other places such as restaurants and entertainment joints such as clubs tend to benefit from these spillovers. Increase in number of customers in this spots warrants the businesses to increase the number of their employees. In the long-run, more employment opportunities are created and this works towards economic growth and development in the city.


It is apparent that the Port of Auckland has helped the city to grow in one way or another. This is through the way it promotes cruise ship tourism and other income generating activities. As the city of Auckland improves it economic prospects, the living standards of the people residing here also improve. Their disposable income increases and thus resulting to higher purchasing parity. As a result, they can now afford things that they did not afford earlier. The aspect will increase the prospect of the city experiencing an increase in the number of individuals involved with cruise tourism. Port of Auckland will benefit significantly since most of the local tourists will choose as their port of choice due to its popularity and location (Reveley, 2014).

Presence of the Port of Auckland has also ensured that the city has significant diversity in terms of culture. Cruise tourists usually spend time around the city for some time. This not only adds value to the economic aspect, but also plays an important role in upholding the social aspect. Through the interaction with tourists, local residents tend to learn a lot regarding other people’s culture. Some of the cultures learned are usually beneficial since they help in improving the level of interaction. There is also a culture of caring that is developed at this point. This is because the locals take care of tourists and give them a good treat even without knowing them personally. Such attributes become rooted in people such that they spread the caring attitude to other local residents (Vogel, 2012). This means that people minimize actions that would hurt others since they feel as if they have a responsibility of ensuring their well-being. Cruise tourism has also helped in improving commercial hospitality in the region. This is because spots such as restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels among others have really improved in order to attract tourists. The improvements are always showcased by the quality of services and goods being offered to consumers. Local residents do benefit from the high standards that have been adopted, and this improves their social lives.

Cruise tourism through the Port of Auckland has also helped in promoting the culture and heritage of the city. When tourists come they tend to learn several things regarding the people and the city in general. These include the monumental regions, tourist attraction sites that they come across, how people behave when a certain scenario arises among others. Once they go home they tell all the stories of the whole experience to their friend and colleagues. This way the culture and heritage of the city is promoted and more people want to visit and have a firsthand experience.

Despite the positives associated with the cruise tourism, there are also some negatives associated with it. Through the interaction with the locals, some of the cultures adopted from the tourists might not be desirable. Some people believe in things that might be thought to be uncouth in other regions. Whether something is good or bad at times depends on where an individual has been brought up (Mancini, 2010). If the locals adopted the undesirable culture it would not be good for the social life and future generations.

Tourism also tends to increase levels of immorality and social vices in the city. Among the social vices being catalysed by tourism is robbery. There is always a belief that tourists have substantial amount of money. There are people who have come up with different ways of trying to steal from them. Some of the robbery is done with violence while in others there is no violence involved. As the vice grows, individuals involved with this activity now start stealing from the locals since they want to broaden their scope. Another immorality practice that has gone up as a result of tourism is prostitution. In areas where tourism is high, prostitution is also high. The act usually has severe health consequences to the individuals involved (Vogel, 2012).

Aspects of environmental degradation have also increased as a result of the growth in the cruise tourism industry. Tourists are prone to discarding unwanted items in the water and land during their cruises. There are directive that warn against this actions, but it has not done much to mitigate the practice.


Port of Auckland is working towards advancing its technology and improving its sustainability initiatives. Among the issues that the port is trying to tackle is reducing the level of pollution. Plans that will see a reduction in environmental degradation are underway. Port of Auckland aims to increase the number of zero emission trucks around the port. This will help in reduction of air pollution (Reveley, 2014). Another technological implementation on the way is that of trying to reduce vessel emissions. This not only helps the port to reduce its costs, but also the well-being of the surrounding communities and other interest groups.

The company has already invested in technologies that boost their recycling prospects. It recycles plastic, cans, glass and paper. The engineering department has also come up with ways of recycling copper wire, oil and scrap steel. This came along after they had introduced an efficiency project that helped to improve the life of tyres by around 50% (Ports of Auckland, 2013).  Currently, “green tyres” are being introduced in the port. Dredging has also been introduced in the port. It helps in preventing run-off and sediment movement in the surrounding areas and the city. This was a favourable move the Waitemata Harbour experiences strong tidal movements which would be detrimental if not properly checked. All these improvements are aimed at bringing about efficiency by improving operations standards. Some are meant to make sure that the environment has been taken care off for the sake of future generations.

Port of Auckland has also selected Navis SPARCS N4 as it future operating system. Adoption of this terminal operating system has come about as a strategic technology investment.  With this operating system the port will be able to optimize yard and vessel planning (Tull, 2015). It will also be used to leverage as the driver for vital technology improvements at the terminal.



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Maher, P., & Stewart, E. (2012). Auckland Cruising Industry’s Growth. Journal of Tourism, 4(2), 56.

Mancini, M. (2010). The CLIA Guide to the Cruise Industry. London: Cengage Learning.

Ports of Auckland (2013). Services to Cruise Ships Calling in to Auckland. Retrieved from http://www.poal.co.nz/cruise_ships/

Tull, M. (2015). Ports of Auckland Selects Navis SPARCS N4. Journal of Global Technology, 7(3), 4.

Dowling, R. (2013). Cruise ship tourism (3rd ed.). Wallingford: CABI.

Brunn, S. (2012). Cities of the world: World regional urban development (5th ed.). Lanham, MD.: Rowman & Littlefield.

Cooper, C. (2014). Information on key tourism and special interest sectors. New Zealand Tourism.

Pryor, N. (2015, April 25). New legal challenge to Ports of Auckland. Retrieved May 12, 2015, from http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/272108/new-legal-challenge-to-ports-of-auckland

Vogel, M. (2012). The business and management of ocean cruises. Cambridge, MA: CABI.

Plunkett, J. (2014). The Politics of Auckland. Journal of Tourism, 13(5), 23-31.