Auckland Mayor Phill Goff is asking the local port to look into ways to get hundreds of parked cars off the waterfront.
Currently, the cars are unloaded from ships onto the Captain Cook and Bledisloe wharves before being transported away by truck.
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Goff wants to see them moved on faster, either through more flexible trucking operations or by barge.
"Captain Cook and Bledisloe wharves often look like giant parking lots for the hundreds of thousands of cars which are shipped into Auckland," he said.
"In addition, moving the cars off the wharf currently adds to the congestion on city centre roads and the motorway as most cars are moved out of the port by road."
Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson said he thinks the council-owned company can rise to the challenge.
"Though we run an extremely efficient car handling operation by world standards, we always think we can do better. We have been looking at barging as an option, so we are pleased to have the Mayor's backing to take this investigation to the next stage.
"We are determined to operate in the best possible way to reduce the impact of the car trade on downtown Auckland."