Napier Port released today a draft proposal to add a new berth within its existing boundary for public consultation.
The berth, which would require dredging and the construction of a new wharf, would be located at the northern end of the container terminal.
Napier Port chief executive, Garth Cowie, said that it would give the Port the ability to handle the increasing volumes and larger ships expected at the Port in the future.
“Shipping patterns are changing, and larger vessels are projected to visit New Zealand. At the same time, volumes are set to increase considerably,” said Garth.
“We have already made significant investments to build capacity and increase productivity, but in our peak season there is a maximum capacity the Port’s main container berth can handle.
“This new wharf would allow us to efficiently handle projected volume growth, larger ships and meet our customers’ future requirements for the foreseeable future,” added Garth.
The Port is planning to seek a resource consent in the last quarter of this year for the new wharf and its phased dredging program (and the subsequent disposal of dredge material). The consent, if granted, would allow the Port to dredge in stages to a new maximum of 14.5 meters at low sea levels (from a current consent maximum of 12.8 meters) and to extend the shipping channel.
“The timetable for any construction or phased dredging will be dictated by the time at which increasing container volumes and potentially larger vessels are likely to begin calling at the Port,” said Garth.
“We’re not certain of when that will be but we do know that we need to be ready to start work immediately if required to remain the port of choice for central New Zealand.
“If we are not ready, shipping lines and cargo volumes could go elsewhere, resulting in increased costs in the supply chain for our local exporters and importers,” he said.
Before submitting its application, the Port is consulting with stakeholders to understand their perspectives and gather additional information. At the same time, it is also investigating potential environmental effects through a series of independent, specialist technical assessments and reports.