With the 2011 earthquake rebuild behind it, Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) is now focused on enhancing its infrastructure to efficiently manage Canterbury freight volumes, forecast to more than double in the coming three decades.
According to LPC Chief Executive, Peter Davie, the company has been granted resource consent to dredge the harbor shipping channel to increase the draught.
“This will enable larger ships to call at Lyttelton Port providing Canterbury’s importers and exporters the best possible and most cost effective international shipping solutions,” said Peter Davie.
“The dredging program means larger container ships, which have virtually doubled in size during the last 10 years, will be able to call at Lyttelton. It is estimated this will decrease freight costs for Lyttelton customers by more than 10 per cent,” added Mr Davie.
“The channel deepening lengthens the navigation channel by approximately 6.5km and widens it by 20 meters. The work will occur in two stages. Stage one will allow vessels with a 13.3 meter draught to call at Lyttelton. Completion of stage two will allow unrestricted sailing for 14.5 meter draught vessels across all tides,” said Mr Davie.
Chairman of the International Container Lines Committee (ICLC), which represents most major container carriers calling at New Zealand, Mark Scott welcomed the news that LPC is about to embark on its channel deepening, and undertake further reclamation.
“Currently container vessels visiting Lyttelton commonly carry 4,500- to 5,000 Twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs), that will increase to 5,500 -6,500 TEUs with larger vessels. However it is quite conceivable that with the dredging of the channel vessels carrying 8,000-9,000 TEU will be able to call at Lyttelton,” said Mark Scott.
LPC was granted its channel deepening consent in March 2018, with Environment Canterbury satisfied that LPC’s plans balanced what is best for the environment, the community and Canterbury’s growing regional economy.
Peter Davie said that the overall dredging program would be the country’s biggest, and that LPC had already implemented the largest environmental monitoring program ever undertaken for a New Zealand dredging project.
“We have awarded the initial stage of the channel deepening program work to Netherlands-based contractor Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. – a leading global operator with more than 100 years’ experience. Their dredge will start operating in late July/early August and the dredging program will last around 11 weeks,” said Mr Davie.
“At the same time we will expand our reclamation at Te Awaparahi Bay by 24 hectares, which includes the construction of a new 700 meter container wharf. Last year the existing reclamation at Te Awaparahi Bay reached 10 hectares,” added Mr Davie.