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New Tractor Investment for Interislander Ferries

25 June 2008

New Tractor Investment for Commercial Vehicle Loading of Interislander Ferries

The first of a new fleet of 20 tow tractors has been delivered to the Interislander ferry company, a NZ$2.5 Million investment in freight handling. The new fleet will modernise the vehicles used to move unaccompanied trailers on and off the Cook Strait ferries at Wellington and Picton, improving capacity.

“Our commercial vehicle traffic is increasing, a great success story for the vital link between North and South Island,” comments David Shepherd, Interislander’s terminal services manager. “We have taken the decision to modernise our terminal tractors and add extra capacity for managing trailers on our sailings.”

The new terminal tractors, supplied by Daysworth International, are specifically designed for cargo terminal operations, with low gearing and high manoeuvrability. These have been further modified for Interislander with the addition of lashing points so they can be on board with trailers for ferry crossings.

Half of the fleet are also fitted with a moveable fifth wheel so that trailers can be set on specially designed trestles, which keep unaccompanied trailers stable for the Cook Strait journey. “The trestle operation means we can handle more commercial traffic, as each trailer does not have to be accompanied by a tractor unit for the crossing,” comments Mr Shepherd.

The new terminal tractors, which replace existing units, have greater fuel efficiency and more features, such as trestle loading capability, which improve freight capacity and turnaround times. Their capability is used mainly overnight, allowing freight customers to drop off trailers and let Interislander load them on and off ferries for pick up at the other port the following morning.

“With over 25,000 trailers moved by Interislander each year, we see this investment as important in keeping us as the main route for freight across the Cook Strait,” comments Mr Shepherd.

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