Cargo Handlers

If you are an EXPERIENCED port worker looking for a change of scenery, we are particularly keen to hear from you. Please email

As a Port Otago Cargo Handler, you are employed directly by the company. This is an important distinction, as it means you have access to the full range of employee benefits (see below).

Following a new collective agreement (agreed January 2024), our Cargo Handlers’ total package is worth $99,000 per annum, with improved rostering and a guaranteed day off each week.

While the port industry has traditionally attracted men, times are changing. We strongly encourage women to apply to all of our roles.

Dunedin is a great city to live, work and play in. The median house price is $575,000 (Jan 2024 REINZ). There are many excellent schools to choose from and, of course, the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic.

Find out more about living in Dunedin


About the Cargo Handler role

  • Operate heavy machinery (including our straddle carriers, ship-to-shore gantry cranes and side loaders) to transport containers around our terminal to connect with container vessels.
  • Undertake lashing duties to secure containers on vessels. (Note that this is physical work that involves heavy lifting).
  • Work outside in all weather conditions and at heights.
  • Ability to balance shift work with your lifestyle.


Hours of work

  • Guaranteed 40 hours per week.
  • Guaranteed day off each week.
  • We operate three Cargo Handler teams which rotate (approx. every three weeks) between:
    • Vessel Day Team, which operates 10-hour shifts: 0600-1600 (6am-4pm)
    • Vessel Night Team, which operates 10-hour shifts:1600-0200 (4pm-2am).
    • Yard Team, which operates Monday to Friday in two 8-hour shifts. On this rotation, the team is split to work either Day 0700-1500 (7am-3pm) or Night 1500-2300 (3pm-11pm). Saturday overtime is usually required for the Day team.
  • You must be flexible enough to work:
    • Either day or night shift
    • Up to 5 shifts each week during peak
    • Any day of the week, including weekends and public holidays.
    • Note: your days off may be staggered during the week.


Base pay and benefits


  • Hourly rate of $40.08.
    • Availability allowance of $100 per week. (This means you are available to work an additional shift each week when required (i.e. 8 or 10 hours overtime, per week).
    • $8 per hour allowance, while operating the ship-to-shore gantry crane.
  • Overtime:
    • Over 40 and up to 50 hours (must be worked when required) – time and a half ($60.12 per hour).
    • Over 50 hours (voluntary) – double time ($80.16 per hour).


  • Health insurance paid for you and your partner and dependent children (valued at $4,000 p.a.).
  • Superannuation matched up to 7% after 6 months’ service.
  • 5 weeks of annual leave.
  • Relocation costs of $15k.


How the roster works

Each Friday, you receive an indicative weekly roster that includes:

  • Confirmed shifts for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
  • Indicative shifts for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. These weekday shifts are confirmed the day prior.
  • One guaranteed day off that cannot be changed.
  • Indicative rostered days off. These may change and can be staggered, due to the nature of shipping.
  • Guaranteed 40 hours. For Vessel Teams, this means 4 x 10-hour shifts; for the Yard Team, this means 5 x 8-hour shifts.
  • Indicative notice if overtime shifts may be required (up to 50 hours). These shifts are typically needed during our peak season.


Heads up

  • A full clean NZ Drivers licence is required.
  • You must be eligible to work in New Zealand.
  • You must have a high personal standard of health and safety.
  • You must be able to pass Ministry of Justice, ACC checks and a full medical which includes a drug and alcohol test and functional movement testing.
  • Random drug and alcohol testing on a weekly basis.


How to apply

Follow this link to apply online.

Please include an up-to-date CV.