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Auckland: Plan for dual servicing of larger vessels

30 November 2010

MEDIA RELEASE

Ports of Auckland announces plan for dual servicing of larger vessels

Ports of Auckland Ltd is preparing for the requirement to service the next generation of container vessels by confirming a multi-million dollar investment in a berth deepening and lengthening programme.

The investment will see the deepening of the northern berth at the Port’s Fergusson Container Terminal, and the construction of a mooring “dolphin” that will extend the maximum combined length of vessels able to be serviced simultaneously by approximately 40m.

The investment is a crucial step that will allow Ports of Auckland to meet the future needs of its customers, Jens Madsen, Ports of Auckland’s Chief Executive, said today.

Mr Madsen said it was clear that more vessels in the 3500-5500 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) range will be introduced into New Zealand services over the coming years.

“This trend will result in the requirement for major ports to be able to accommodate
two such vessels simultaneously. This need is now considered to be more pressing than the need to accommodate the arrival of single larger vessels of 6000TEU and above.”

Mr Madsen said the investment that has been announced will ensure sufficient depth along the full length of the Fergusson terminal to reliably accommodate vessels as draughts deepen.

The maximum vessel draught at chart datum (the lowest of low tides) on the northern berth will be increased from 11.7m to13.0m. This will be in addition to the current maximum vessel draught at chart datum for the southern berth of 12.5m.

The ‘dolphin’ construction – a mooring structure separate from the main wharf - will ensure vessels can be safely moored on the outer berth with a greater overhang than is allowable currently.
Mr Madsen said that the idea of 7,000 TEU sized vessels regularly visiting New Zealand by 2015, a timeframe suggested in a recent report from the Shippers Council, seemed optimistic, which is why Ports of Auckland was taking a step-by-step approach.

“A number of stakeholders in the supply chain, including shipping lines, do not think it unreasonable to see ships of around 5,000-5,500 TEU calling on a regular liner service within the next five years. That is the immediate scenario we are planning for.

“We think it is a prudent approach, and one that will sustain and enhance Ports of Auckland’s reputation as New Zealand’s leading container port,” Mr Madsen said.

Ports of Auckland is New Zealand’s largest container port, holding 63% market share of the upper North Island container trade.

Ports of Auckland handled cargo valued at around $25b in the year to 30 June 2010, equivalent to 13% of New Zealand’s GDP.

The berth deepening, which already has consents in place, will begin in the first quarter of 2011, followed by the construction of the ‘dolphin’, with works scheduled for completion by the end of 2011.

ENDS

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