NZ port splashing $20m on improvements

The Main Wharf North venture will complete a rebuild programme starting in 1998 Photo: Tākuta/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0 The Main Wharf North venture will complete a rebuild programme starting in 1998 Photo: Tākuta/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
Industry Database

New Zealand’s Port Nelson is set to invest about $20m in the next year to year and a half on re-developing the Main Wharf North berth and buying a new Damen harbour tug.

Announcing the spend, port chairman Phil Lough emphasised that it would help to ensure the dock could meet the demands of bigger vessels calling there and improve its region’s earthquake resilience.

Investment in details

The Main Wharf North venture will complete a rebuild programme starting in 1998 with the construction of a 120-metre length of Main Wharf South — to which an additional 60 metres was added in 2008, Mr Lough noted.

Planning work will likely begin early next year, with contractors likely to be on site to start groundworks around July that year. The project is set to be finished in mid-2020.

An extra 100 metres of wharf (most of which is nearly a century old) will be rebuilt to 100 tonnes axle load, subsequently giving Port Nelson a full heavy-duty berth with a length of 280 metres.

This will ensure that the organisation can, for the foreseeable future, meet the demands of bigger container and cruise ship visits.

Based on work carried out as part of an ongoing resilience-planning venture, it will also mean that Port Nelson will have a berth able to stand up to damage that could occur because of a major earthquake, allowing the continuing import of emergency supplies and fuel.

The purchase of the Damen 2411 tug follows on from the purchase of the 52-tonne bollard pull tug Toia, which arrived at Nelson in September 2016.

Commenting on the new product, Mr Lough said: “[The] increased tug capacity of 70 tonnes bollard pull will give us the necessary power to berth larger ships than we can currently handle as well as the ability to extend berthing and sailing windows for vessels currently using the port.”

In a release, Port Nelson said that this boosted towage power should also help both itself and the Nelson/Tasman area get extra visits from bigger cruise ships that have not previously called into the region. In recent years, the size of containerships servicing the port has increased significantly, with this trend likely to carry on over the next two years, the facility said.

The new tug is currently having final fitting work undertaken, with the aim being for this work to be finished in time for a delivery to Nelson in April next year.

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