Ports of Auckland and the Maritime Union have agreed to enter more formal mediation to try to break a deadlock in their dispute.
They will make an urgent application for facilitation to try to end the eight-month dispute over a new collective contract.
The Employment Relations Authority facilitation process is available when parties have serious difficulties concluding a collective agreement.
Ports of Auckland says it hopes that will help negotiations by providing parties with clear recommendations by a neutral and experienced third party.
It says there is a deadlock between the parties that needs to be broken and facilitation provides some chance that will happen.