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Ports of Auckland’s key project nears completion

Friday 6 October 2006

Ports of Auckland’s key project nears completion

The first half of New Zealand’s largest port infrastructure project - and biggest recycling venture - is almost complete.

Imagine 295 Olympic-sized swimming pools of marine mud and cement (known as ‘mudcrete’). That is the volume - 740,000 cubic metres - of material that has been recycled so far into Ports of Auckland’s new reclaimed land extension!

When Stage One (first half) of the extension is complete early next year it will provide five hectares of new land at the Axis Fergusson container terminal. This extra area will provide container handling space for an additional 120,000 TEU at the terminal. Stage Two, the remaining 4.4 hectares of the extension, will be completed over a period of time using maintenance dredgings from around the port wharves.

The project (Stages One and Two inclusive) will add a total of 9.4-hectares of new land, increasing the total area of New Zealand’s largest and busiest container terminal to around 35 hectares – or 350,000 square metres!

Ports of Auckland Managing Director Geoff Vazey says, “This is an important project for the Port and for the Auckland region. By increasing the Port’s capacity we are ensuring our ability to handle Auckland’s rapidly growing imports and exports well into the future.”

The first two hectares of Stage One were completed in January and are in use, aiding increased productivity at the terminal.

Ports of Auckland’s second container terminal, Axis Bledisloe has a total area of 14 hectares.

Environmentally and Community friendly

The large project has been undertaken in a way that is both environmentally and community friendly. It is of such low intensity, both in terms of noise and visibility, that few port neighbours or recreational harbour users are aware of the progress of the project.

The mudcrete, made by mixing dredgings mainly from the deepening of the shipping lane with cement, is being recycled into the reclamation as environmentally friendly fill to form the extension of the Company’s Axis Fergusson container terminal.

“By recycling the dredgings from the commercial shipping lane into the reclamation extension we do not need to truck in substantial amounts of scare quarry rock, which is good news for our neighbours and road users.

“Using this method is also good news for the environment as dredgings are recycled and not disposed of at sea and the mudcrete made from dredgings is environmentally friendly,” says Geoff Vazey.

New public access to the waterfront

The construction of an all-new public waterfront walkway on the reclaimed land is also underway, due to be completed in early 2007.

A protective rock seawall is being placed around the eastern exterior of the reclamation. Once the seawall is completed, a three-metre wide walkway and two viewing platforms will be built on top, giving 400 meters of direct public waterfront access.

“There are many operational benefits to be gained from this new area, but we are also very pleased to have the opportunity to open the eastern side of the reclamation to the public. It will be an appealing place to visit offering stunning views up the harbour, as well a safe, close-up view of our busy container terminal,” says Geoff Vazey.

Deepening the commercial shipping lane

The commercial shipping lane deepening, which provides material for the new reclamation, has progressed to its final stages in the northern end of the shipping lane in the Rangitoto Channel. The channel deepening, to a depth of 12.5 metres at the lowest point of the tide, will be completed within the next few months.

The channel deepening is required in order to widen the tidal window for larger containerships such as those now calling at the port and also to provide for the next generation of vessels expected in the future. This will enable these larger ships to call at almost all stages of the tide.

Fast Facts

When the shipping lane deepening and Stage One of the Axis Fergusson container terminal extension are completed:

• Auckland will have a terminal that can service larger containerships with ease.

• Auckland will cater for an additional 120,000 TEU.

• Auckland will have the capacity to move almost one million containers a year.

• Five hectares of land will have been reclaimed. On complete of Stage Two the Axis Fergusson container terminal will have a total area of around 35 hectares – or 50,000 square metres.

• A new 3-meter wide, 400-metre long waterfront walkway with two viewing platforms on the eastern side of the new terminal will be open to the public.

• 40,000 cubic metres of rock will have been used on the sea walls surrounding the new reclamation extension.
• An estimated 800,000 cubic meters of mudcrete - enough to fill 320 Olympic-size swimming pools - will have been placed in the reclamation. (At present more than 740,000 cubic metres of mudcrete have been placed in the reclamation; that’s enough to fill 295 Olympic-sized swimming pools.)

• The new shipping lane depth will be 12.5 metres at chart datum (the lowest of low tides).
* Container volumes are measured in TEUs (20-foot equivalent units – or the size of a standard 20-foot container).


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