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Mainstream – Auckland, New Zealand

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Interview with

Mr. Matt Pearson

Special Projects Manager
Matt Pearson

First off Matt, can you please tell us about the history of Mainstream, New Zealand?

Mainstream started in the domestic transport market in 1993. It branched into international freight in 2006 and 3PL at around the same time, and we are now one of the largest domestic and distribution forwarders in New Zealand, with sixteen offices and over 370 staff.

Map of New Zealand

Elaborate, if you will, on the major ports of New Zealand. Which ones are mainly used for project cargo on both the north and south islands?

That’s a tough one. It depends where the destination is. New Zealand has some fairly narrow roads and strict trucking weight limits, which can make transport of larger items (+100TN) difficult. Certainly, the main ports are Auckland, Taurang and Lyttelton, however for heavy/large project cargo, we often have to use Timaru on the south island, as it has better road access than Lyttelton. Basically, it depends on the cargo type, weight, dimensions etc. and the final destination.

Auckland New Zealand

New Zealand is located quite remotely, but you are certainly close to many of the Pacific islands. Does this proximity to some of the Pacific countries mean project cargo business for Mainstream as well?

Yes, it does, we often handle projects to the islands and often New Zealand is the easiest origin for the islands to source from. A lot of old machinery that is not fit for purpose (or won’t pass the regulatory requirements) in New Zealand is still fine for the islands too, so we often work there for project cargo.

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Could you provide us with a few examples of cargo that you have handled?

Sure, I have worked with many large cranes from Europe to New Zealand, also Australia to New Zealand and I’m currently dealing with a crawler crane from Fremantle which is 742m3 and 295TN. It’s coming over as a mix of MAFI (11 x MAFI trailers), ro-ro and static load. That’s a tricky one because the client needs it on site three days after arrival, so we have some serious time restraints to try get it cleared through MPI (quarantine) in time to meet the clients’ deadlines.

I’m also involved in a project into North Australia for four 72TN dryer units which require specialised inline floats for delivery and full onsite crane hire for positioning.

I am just waiting to hear about a new wind farm in New Zealand, which should also be confirmed in October and will involve vessel charters, 100 + containers and complex inland laydown areas. This is the type of project we like to work with as it demonstrates the point of difference between us and most forwarders in New Zealand. It takes a lot of planning with Gantt charts and understanding the clients’ critical pathways to be able to perform to their expectations. The BMSB (brown marmorated stink bug) season doesn’t help with this type of cargo coming often from Europe.

Competition is a reality for all in shipping nowadays. What do you think makes you stand out?

I would say it’s a combination of several points:
1) There are not that many companies in New Zealand that specialise in project cargo and know how to handle it effectively.
2) Our brand; we sponsor local teams and have a reputable brand within New Zealand.
3) Flexibility; all decisions are made in our office in Auckland and so decisions around services, resources etc. are made very quickly, with no red tape, which our clients and partners really like.

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When did you start your career in shipping and logistics? What prompted you to choose a career in this field?

I started working in freight forwarding in 2007, as my father started Mainstream Global (though he’s long since retired now) and he needed some help with filing etc. It was just a part-time job before I started university. That was twelve years ago and I’m still enjoying the industry. I first began project work shortly after starting organising a few factory relocations and handling heavy machinery movements, then went full-time project in 2016.

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How to get in touch with you?

It’s best to contact me via: matt.pearson@mainstream.co.nz
M: +64 21 274 1322