Australian companies find opportunity in NZ

Amid the talk of economic headwinds and a tough operating environment for businesses in New Zealand, there are some incredibly positive signs. Recently we've seen an increase in the number of businesses we're helping set up on New Zealand shores.

Time to read: 4 mins

One such client is MatchBox Exchange, an Australian tech disruptor specialising in container logistics triangulation for shipping and transport companies and freight forwarders. It has been operating in New Zealand since 2018 and over the past two years the New Zealand arm has exploded into one of the company's top three markets, beating the likes of India, Thailand, Vietnam and Israel.

In 2022, we helped MatchBox Exchange recruit its first on-the-ground operative in New Zealand, Country Manager Tom Storey, to cater to the demand, working closely alongside customers to minimise waste in the country's supply chain.

During the Covid crunch, when businesses couldn’t get shipping slots and goods were stuck onboard vessels because container parks were over capacity, MatchBox Exchange worked with suppliers and customers to reuse and exchange empty containers as an alternative to using container depots. This resulted in a more efficient container transport supply chain, reducing the number of wasted trips to storage facilities and keeping trucks moving in a productive, not wasteful manner.

New Zealand’s status as a net importer of many products means there is always a large number of empty containers that need to be stored or repositioned. Storing these in container parks until they’re able to be used for export or shipped out empty has become an industry headache. MatchBox Exchange’s genius is developing a software product to optimise the movement of empty containers by partnering with global shipping lines to enable customers to utilise empties.

“As a country with a decent surplus of containers, it’s an easy sell to customers who want to optimise their container transport fleets in an efficient, productive way,” says Tom.

“One of our customers, a large dry goods manufacturer located in Auckland, can now request containers from the network we have created. Trucks from multiple transport operators will drop them their empties instead of taking them to the depots. No booking slots required and no queues. They even unload containers with their hoist, so the turnaround time is second to none. It’s a win-win for our customers on both the import and export side of the equation.” 

Andrew Dickeson, Tax Director at Baker Tilly Staples Rodway, says he’s taking at least double the number of enquiries from Australian businesses like MatchBox Exchange than he did prior to Covid. Where he might have received one enquiry per week about setting up or expanding here, some weeks there are now two or three, a trend echoed by his colleagues across the business.

While a mixture of sectors are represented, Andrew notes that the most common are product manufacturers. That too is set to bring more growth for the supply chain.

“I recently attended an event with our Australian affiliate, Pitcher Partners, in Sydney. We heard from a lot of exporters, engineers and even professional services businesses that they were interested in setting up operations on this side of the Tasman, particularly in products such as food,” he says.

Tom also points to the fact that New Zealand’s oft-derided rail network is much better than in many parts of Asia, supported by a good roading network. Local transport businesses are also keen to support the environment by optimising their movements. Put together, market conditions on our shores support significant growth for the right businesses.

“However, our advice to any business – including the many Kiwi companies we work with who are looking to invest in Australia and elsewhere – is to do your homework. Tax and business registration are big issues, but different markets (including Australia) also have different tastes and ways of doing things, which don’t always translate. It’s essential to find the right people who understand how things operate in that specific market, just as MatchBox Exchange has done,” says Andrew. 

– Learn more about our Australia Services Team.

DISCLAIMER No liability is assumed by Baker Tilly Staples Rodway for any losses suffered by any person relying directly or indirectly upon any article within this website. It is recommended that you consult your advisor before acting on this information.

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