A four-year legal battle will finally reach fruition next week when dredging vessels start to widen and deepen the shipping channel leading to the Port of Tauranga.
The project will allow ships carrying 6500 containers to enter the port at low tide.
At present most big ships entering New Zealand waters carry 4500.
Port chief executive Mark Cairns said moves like this were essential for a trading nation like New Zealand.
He said vessels were getting larger and unless ports here got bigger, the country would have to send its exports via Australia.
Mr Cairns said ships able to use the port after dredging will be 310 metres long, but some ships in the northern hemisphere are 400m long.