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Main work begins on shipping lane

Monday 28 June 2004

Main work begins on shipping lane deepening and container terminal extension

The main work on Ports of Auckland’s project to deepen the commercial shipping lane in the Rangitoto Channel and extend Axis Fergusson container terminal is now underway.

The $55 million project involves dredging up to 500,000 cubic metres of marine material from the commercial shipping lane. The dredgings will be mudcreted (mixed with cement) and used as environmentally friendly fill for about half of the 9.5 hectare Axis Fergusson terminal expansion.

This project follows the successful completion of initial work earlier this year – the mechanical excavation of the hard Parnell grit rock from the commercial shipping lane. No blasting was necessary to complete this work nor will be required for the main contract work.

The shipping lane deepening is required in order to widen the tidal window for larger containerships such as those now calling at the port. These ships will be able to call at almost all stages of the tide.

“The Axis Fergusson container terminal, with its container capacity of 380,000 containers, is being extended to provide for the future container handling needs of our shipping line customers,” said Sandy Gibson, General Manager of Axis Intermodal, Ports of Auckland’s container terminal operator.

“The initial four to five hectares (Stage One) of the reclamation will provide an additional 100,000 container capacity. It will be completed progressively over the next three years, with the first additional container stacking space becoming available in 2005.

“The shipping lane deepening will widen the current tidal windows for the large containerships that currently call at the port and will also provide for the next generation of vessels expected in the future,” Mr Gibson said.

Ports of Auckland Chief Executive Geoff Vazey said: “The terminal extension is another significant step along our planned path to provide for future capacity requirements.”

“In line with global trends, we are experiencing larger container exchanges, brought by larger containerships.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that the Waitemata seaport continues to attract and provide for this business, for the well being of the city and region. Over 173,000 local jobs are supported by business activity related directly or indirectly to Auckland’s sea trade. This activity pumps over $11 billion a year into the region and accounts for a third of the regional economy,” Mr Vazey said.

Low impact environmentally-friendly project

Ports of Auckland General Manager Infrastructure Ben Chrystall said: “While the scale of this project is considerable, the construction and dredging activity will be of a low level and have minimal impact on recreational harbour users and port neighbours.

“Because we are using dredgings from the shipping lane deepening for reclamation fill (in the form of mudcrete), we will require very little quarry rock to be trucked in. This is good news for port neighbours and road users as this means there will be limited traffic servicing the site.

“It’s also good news for the environment as we will be recycling the dredgings into the reclamation rather than disposing of them at sea and the mudcrete made from the dredgings is environmentally friendly,” Mr Chrystall said.

Out in the shipping lane, recreational boaties won’t be hindered by the barge-mounted mechanical dredger, which begins work later this year. The barge will be about the same size as a Fullers ferry with one 100-tonne back-hoe dredger on board.

Reclamation and shipping lane work

Fletcher Construction is carrying out the main work of the project, with contracts yet to be let for the reclamation pavement, services and other finishing works. Heron Construction is the sub-contractor for the shipping lane dredging and some mudcreting works.

The Stage One work involves building a sea wall with a protective armour rock outer layer, completion of the reclamation progressively over the next three years and the construction of a public walkway with two viewing platforms on the eastern side of the extension. Initial construction work is being carried out on the reclamation over the next few months, with dredging in the shipping lane and main mudcreting works beginning later this year.

Further information on the deepening of the commercial shipping lane and the Axis Fergusson container terminal expansion is available on the Ports of Auckland website: www.poal.co.nz/about/portdevelopmentintro -

ENDS

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