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Nelson’s slipway redevelopment and services expansion project gets the green light

Port Nelson will take over ownership of the assets of Nelson Slipway Limited from 1 October 2021 as the next step in developing modern ship slipping facilities in Nelson. The project confirmation is a result of years of effort by central and local government, the marine industry, and Port Nelson to secure the land required for the facilities.

The primary funders of the $14.6 million project are Port Nelson and central government, which is contributing $9.8 million through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit administers the government’s contribution. Supporting funders are Aimex Ltd and Nelson City Council.

Slipping allows vessels to be removed from the water for repair and maintenance. When completed, the upgraded slipway facilities will be able to handle a greater number of vessels while providing improved environmental protection measures.

The project involves redeveloping and improving services delivered by Port Nelson’s two existing slipping operations, the Calwell Slipway and the Nelson Slipway. Currently Calwell Slipway efficiently slips vessels of 2,400 tonnes to 200 tonnes, while the Nelson Slipway slips vessels less than 120 tonnes.

The new project will create a modern marine maintenance facility that allows more rapid lifting of vessels in the range 2,400 to 50 tonnes. The new development maintains the Calwell Slipway, creates new finger wharves and a hardstand area which will allow a new marine travel lift to operate. The new lift has a capacity of approximately 400 tonnes.

The new facility will include an environment treatment facility for waste from vessel cleaning operations. During construction, contaminated silts will be removed from the harbour basin adjacent to the slipways.

Both slipways will be operated by Port Nelson to provide a single efficient marine maintenance facility. The existing small slipway operation will continue as normal until construction starts in mid-2022.

The sale of the Nelson Slipway Ltd assets and assets of the Marine & General engineering business brings an end to more than 30 years of service to the industry by the current owners. The engineering side of the business will be purchased by Aimex and will continue operating under the Marine & General brand. All Marine & General staff have been offered employment with either Port Nelson or Aimex.

Hugh Morrison, Port Nelson’s CEO, comments on the project, “Port Nelson is delighted to facilitate modern slipping facilities that can compete with other operations throughout Australasia. This project is exciting and welcome for the Te Tauihu region. We do acknowledge there will be a period of transition to the new facilities and the Port will work with all parties to make this as seamless as possible.”

The Minister of Economic and Regional Development Stuart Nash is pleased the project is moving forward.

“The Port of Nelson is a vital part of this country’s seafood industry and the Government is pleased to help fund the new slipway so our fishing fleet can be properly and speedily serviced,” Stuart Nash said.

“The Government is determined to help regions build their economies so they can provide businesses with the infrastructure they need and provide locals with jobs. This project is a good example of how an important regional project can benefit from targeted Government support.”

Port Nelson acknowledges the work of its partner in this project, Aimex, who initiated the opportunity and has championed the need to sustain and grow the whole marine engineering industry in Nelson and Tasman. The Port also acknowledges the support provided by the Mayors and Councils of Nelson and Tasman, the Nelson Regional Development Agency, the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce, and Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said the Council’s partnership in the project acknowledges the legacy investment being made in Nelson’s future.

“I thank Marine & General’s owners for decades of service and for their willingness to participate in this significant step change for our region. Marine Engineering is a critical part of our region’s ocean economy, and this development is a significant step forward. I look forward to watching this project evolve and welcome Aimex as a key partner in the future success of the region’s marine services.”

The Port Nelson team delivering the project is led by the General Manager of Environment and Infrastructure, Allanagh Rivers, and Senior Port Engineer, Mark Washington. Design has commenced on the new facility and completion is expected within two years.

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