Port Otago recently completed the first stage of its Next Generation harbor deepening program, reaching the initial target depth of 13.5 meters at low tide (or chart datum) for the shipping channel to Port Chalmers.
This applies to both sandy material dredged by split hopper trailer suction dredger ‘New Era’ and the rocky and silty areas being completed by Heron Construction’s backhoe ‘Kimihia’.
Stage two of the phased dredging program, to 14 meters, along with some essential maintenance dredging, will begin following the five-yearly survey and maintenance on the New Era which is currently underway.
The dredge will be back in operation from late March. Sheet piling stage one of the Container Terminal berth has also been completed, with stage two (for the Multi-Purpose berth) scheduled to commence in June.
Today’s sailing of Maersk’s Southern Star service vessel, Laust Maersk, (Monday 29 February) comes only a few weeks after Port Otago completed the first stage of its harbor deepening program, allowing large container ships like the Laust Maersk to make full use of the extra channel depth to carry more cargo.
Thirteen and a half meters will be the deepest draft that any container ship has ever sailed from a New Zealand port and it continues Port Chalmers’ unique record of shipping firsts, dating back to 1882 with the first shipment of frozen meat to Europe.
Port Chalmers is already the deepest container port in New Zealand and there have been several sailings of vessels at 13 meters over the last two years.