Wellington’s smart motorway being let down by dumb motorists

The New Zealand Transport Agency says drivers are not sticking to the speed limit on Wellington's smart motorway, on ...

The New Zealand Transport Agency says drivers are not sticking to the speed limit on Wellington’s smart motorway, on State Highway 1 from The Terrace to Johnsonville.

Wellington’s smart motorway is being let down by dumb motorists, whose speeding and poor merging habits are stifling the effectiveness of the $55 million project.

New Zealand Transport Agency data shows peak commute times on the motorway – a section of State Highway 1 between Johnsonville and the Terrace Tunnel – have improved only slightly since it was opened in July last year, while the northbound evening journey has become longer.

The motorway is the first of its kind in New Zealand, and features a computerised system which sets optimal speed limits based on predicted changes in traffic flows.

One of the major congestion points - Ngauranga Gorge where SH2 splits off to the Hutt and further north.

But NZTA highways manager Neil Walker says poor driving habits are restricting the motorway’s benefits, especially at the merge point with State Highway 2 at the bottom of the Ngauranga Gorge.

“There’s a lot of driver behaviour which could make a difference,” he said.

Traffic backed up heading north on the motorway's opening day, in July last year.

“It’s simple things like driving to the end of the merge lanes [which would help traffic flow more smoothly].”

In addition, while drivers were slowing down when they saw reduced speed limits, they were still consistently travelling about 10kmh over them, Walker said.

Speed cameras were not adjustable to the fluctuating speed limits, but that would be considered if the technology became available.

A clear run for motorists.

The average peak weekday journey time from the Ngauranga Gorge to Hobson St had improved by about 30 seconds each in both directions from July to April, compared with the previous 12 months.

The southbound morning journey was down from seven minutes to six-and-a-half minutes, and the northbound evening journey was down from six minutes to five-and-a-half minutes.

However, while the journey from Petone (at the Seaview Recycle and Transfer Station) to Hobson St was about 30 seconds faster during the morning weekday peak, the evening journey north was about two minutes longer.

That was because improved traffic flows along State Highway 1 were putting pressure on the merge point with State Highway 2, which went to Petone.

However, Walker admitted the merge point could operate better, and the agency was considering options to improve it.

Walker reiterated the motorway development was not intended to cut travel times, but to improve journey reliability and safety for the 100,000 vehicles which travelled on the road on an average weekday.

“It’s a fairly busy section of a big network, and we get congestion right along the motorway. At the moment, we’re observing what’s happening to see how people are interacting with it.”

Automobile Association road safety spokesman Dylan Thomsen said the motorway had several advantages and shortened travel times were encouraging.

“It may not look like that much but, obviously, when you multiply that over tens of thousands of vehicles, it adds up to some big numbers.

“We’re getting good benefits out of this technology, but it’s got to be widened and extended over time to look beyond just this motorway in order to know where the bottlenecks are and where the problems are.”

The standstill at the Terrace Tunnel during peak times was a specific area that needed to be addressed, Thomsen said.

Green Party transport spokeswoman Julie-Anne Genter was not convinced about the project’s benefits, saying the money should have been used to improve public transport.

“The more you improve public transport, the less pressure there is on state highways.

The investment in roading had not improved travel times in Wellington, and a dedicated bus lane or rail line could transport between 10 and 20 times more people an hour during peak time than an extra motorway lane, she said.

 – Stuff

KiwiRail swoops on opportunity to buy NZ’s largest ferry

The Kaitaki has proved itself on what can be a challenging route. (File photo)

 The Kaitaki has proved itself on what can be a challenging route.
 KiwiRail has announced its purchase of the Interislander ferry Kaitaki before its lease expires in 2020.

The Kaitaki is the largest domestic passenger ferry operating in New Zealand, and has been leased from Dublin-based Irish Ferries since 2005.

“It has proved itself on what can be a challenging route,” KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said on Wednesday.

KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said there was strong competition for secondhand ferries, and it was best to snap ...

KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy

A worldwide shortage of suitable secondhand ferries, and heavy competition for those ships, meant there was no certainty it would be available after its lease expired.

“The best option was to take up the opportunity to purchase the ferry,” Reidy said.

“The Interislander fleet is the extension of SH1 across Cook Strait. Our ships are vital for tourism, and an important piece of the integrated transport network for freight, with road and rail working together to help drive New Zealand’s growth.

“Nearly 190,000 people are directly employed in the tourism sector, and ensuring visitors are able to travel between the North Island and the South Island easily makes sure that the benefits – and the jobs – are spread through the country.”

* Up to 4000 sailings a year
* Kaitaki can carry up to 1350 passengers, more than the Aratere and the Kaiarahi combined.
* Last financial year KiwiRail’s Interislander ferries carried more than 1 million net tonnes of freight
* Consisting of 83,000 commercial vehicles and 800,000 passengers

 – Stuff

DP World unveils container tracking solution

DP World, a leading enabler of global trade and an integral part of the supply chain, today demonstrated the most advanced container tracking solution developed by a port terminal operator, under the theme of “Where’s My Container?”, at Transport Logistic in Munich.

The enhancement to the current beta version, after feedback from a pilot release, opens the door for users to have greater visibility of their cargo and improves speed-to-shelf opportunities such as improved replenishment forecasts and better inventory allocation.

The container tracking solution represents a major step forward for customers by reducing administration and providing better data quality for their planning and logistics of getting products onto shelves. This solution will be rolled out in a phased manner and initially be made available across DP World’s UK terminals.

“This solution is a natural extension of our mission to add value for our customers and help solve their toughest challenges,” said Ganesh Raj, senior VP and MD, DP World – Europe and Russia.

“Access to visibility of containerised cargo has traditionally been time consuming and challenging; today’s enhanced tool demonstrates how this solution can help our customers plan and manage their supply chain more effectively and in real-time”.

ICS Commits Shipping to Ambitious CO2 Reduction Objectives

At its AGM in Istanbul, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) agreed to urge the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to adopt some dramatic CO2 reduction objectives – on behalf of the international shipping sector as a whole – in order to match the ambition of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
In a submission to IMO Member States, being made in conjunction with other shipping organisations, ICS will propose that IMO should adopt three Aspirational Objectives:

• To maintain international shipping’s annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels

• To reduce CO2 emissions per tonne-km, as an average across international shipping, by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008

• To reduce international shipping’s total annual CO2 emissions by an agreed percentage by 2050, compared to 2008, as a point on a continuing trajectory of CO2 emissions reduction

Esben Poulsson

Speaking in Istanbul, ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson, commented:

“It is very important that IMO sends a clear and unambiguous signal to the global community that shipping’s regulators have agreed some ambitious objectives, with numbers and dates, for reducing the sector’s CO2 emissions, in the same way that land-based activity is now covered by government commitments under the Paris Agreement.”

ICS wants IMO to remain in control of additional measures to address CO2 reduction by ships and to develop a global solution, rather than risk the danger of market-distorting measures at national or regional level.

“Shipping has a very good story to tell about reducing CO2 but this is difficult to convey so long as there is no clear signal from IMO as to what our collective CO2 reduction objectives should be”, said Mr Poulsson.

ICS will suggest that IMO should adopt these objectives as part of the initial IMO CO2 reduction strategy to be agreed in 2018, following the adoption of an IMO Roadmap at the request of the industry in 2016.

Importantly, acknowledging concerns of developing nations about the possible impacts of CO2 reduction for trade and sustainable development, ICS emphasises that any objectives adopted by IMO must not imply any commitment to place a binding cap on the sector’s total CO2 emissions or on the CO2 emissions of individual ships.

“Dramatic CO2 reductions alongside increasing trade can only be achieved with the development of alternative fossil-free fuels – something which needs to be identified by the IMO strategy” Mr Poulsson emphasised.

He added “The long term future of the industry, like the rest of the world economy, must eventually be fossil fuel free. The trajectory for getting there, not least the development of alternative fuels, could well take us several decades. But this will only be achieved if the industry itself pushes for the adoption by IMO of some suitability ambitious objectives so that all concerned are under no illusion about the scale of the task ahead.”

The ICS AGM in Istanbul was hosted by the Turkish Chamber of Shipping from 9-11 May.

Esben Poulsson (Singapore) was elected ICS Chairman in 2016. For 2017-2018 he will be supported by the following Vice Chairmen: John Adams (Bahamas), Emanuele Grimaldi (Italy), Mark Martecchini (Liberia) and Karin Orsel (Netherlands).

According to the 2014 IMO GHG Study, international shipping emitted 921 million tonnes of CO2 in 2008. As a result of technical and operational measures, this figure declined by 13% to less than 800 million tonnes of CO2 in 2012 or 2.2% of the world’s total CO2 emissions. In the absence of additional CO2 reduction measures however, total CO2 from international shipping is currently projected by IMO to increase above 2008 levels due to additional demand for maritime transport.
ICS is the principal global trade association for shipowners. Its member national shipowners’ associations, from 37 nations, cover all sectors and trades and over 80% of the world merchant fleet.
ICS (together with BIMCO, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO) will be making a joint submission on behalf of the global shipping industry to the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee, which meets during the first week of July, preceded by a week-long Intersessional Working Group which will begin the development of an IMO strategy for reducing CO2 from shipping.
International shipping (and international aviation) is not covered by the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) committed by governments as part of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement adopted in 2015. Under the UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol, the mandate for addressing CO2 from shipping remains with IMO until 2020.
Source: ICS

Call for Hamilton commuters to get on board rail service

The Northern Explorer currently runs between Wellington and Auckland but not as a commuter service. Photo / Gary Farrow
The Northern Explorer currently runs between Wellington and Auckland but not as a commuter service. Photo / Gary Farrow

Proponents for the establishment of a commuter rail service between Hamilton and Auckland will need to bridge political gaps and unite if the initiative is to gain traction, it emerged last Sunday.

Community group The Rail Opportunity Network (TRON) held a meeting in the historic Frankton Hotel adjacent to the railway line the train would traverse as it left Hamilton heading for Auckland – if it came to be a reality.

TRON is a collective of people from a range of backgrounds who have all expressed ongoing interest in bringing the intercity train into operation.

Engineers, railway staff, politicians, tourism organisations and health and safety experts have all entered the ring in support of the service.

Susan Trodden, spokesperson for TRON, was among the key organisers of Sunday’s discussion.

There was a large turnout, including members of the public, Hamilton business owners and numerous local political representatives.

“It’s quite important we have a good roundtable community discussion on this,” Hamilton city councillor Dave Macpherson said as he spoke on the discussion panel, emphasising that the train should not become party political.

“The growth in the Waikato, from Hamilton north to Tuakau, is phenomenal at the moment and is going to be phenomenal for some years to come.”

Macpherson noted expanding and upcoming residential developments in Pokeno, Mercer, Huntly and Te Kauwhata which he said would all increase the pressure on Stage Highway 1 and the need for a train service to those areas, which could double in benefit to link Hamilton with Auckland.

“A lot of the planners in this area and nationally are actually way behind the 8-ball there. We’re seeing figures coming forward from supposedly reputable planners to the Waikato District Health Board saying the population in Hamilton is only 147,000 at the moment – it was that seven or eight years ago,” Macpherson said.

“This is not to have a shot at planners – I always like doing that. This is to say the problem is getting worse or more extreme faster than we ever thought possible five years ago.”

Labour list MP Sue Moroney agreed with Macpherson’s metaphorical description of “the Drury Parking Lot” – with Drury in the far south of Auckland currently being the choke point where the worst of the local and intercity traffic begins to compound.

“Can I just say, from the outset, can we just learn from Auckland’s mistakes?” Moroney said.

“This is the opportunity that we have here in Hamilton, is to not go down that path of Auckland – of not doing things in a timely fashion, looking the other way, pretending it’s not coming, and therefore missing the opportunity to get the right infrastructure at the right time.”

She said she had been campaigning for the Hamilton-Auckland rail service for 10 years, and that it was a “no-brainer” back then in the same way that it is now.

Moroney also pointed out that it now takes longer to travel between the CBDs of Hamilton and Auckland, despite $1.7 billion spent on the Waikato Expressway to try and make the trip smoother.

“The only mode that can get through rush hour traffic is a train,” she said.

Tim Kerwin, Waikato rail branch secretary for the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, said the service would be easy to set up.

“From a technical perspective, the infrastructure for what we need to do is there right now,” Mr Kerwin said.

More than 100 former Auckland suburban rail carriages, purchased from the UK and refurbished in New Zealand, are currently sitting in storage in the rail yard in Taumarunui after a failed sale to an African country, which Kerwin noted could easily be refitted again to suit a Hamilton-Auckland train.

The carriages are in good, operable condition, but became excess to Auckland Transport’s needs during the roll-out of the city’s new electric trains.

“The foundation and the bones for this is already there and it’s not a hard thing to get underway,” said Kerwin.

Support came from the other side of the political spectrum, too, with National MP Tim Macindoe – MP for Hamilton West since 2008 – conservatively expressing his support.

“As a fan of commuter rail, it’s something I want to see happen,” Mr Macindoe said.

“There are different options that can be looked at here. I am here today because I want to be part of this conversation. I absolutely agree with Dave Macpherson’s point that it would be a shame if this became party political, because I think it would be far more important for our region to have a cross-party approach.”

Macindoe was hours away from officially taking up the portfolio of associate transport minister following a recent Cabinet reshuffle by the Government, so did not want to comment on the issue further at the time.

Mayor Andrew King said the service was essential for the future, and should happen as long as central government as well as Auckland Council will give financial support given the mutual benefits.

Hamilton News

Rising security threats pose real danger to maritime industry, warns MAST

Conflicts and tensions in the South China Sea and sub-Saharan Africa pose a real threat to the maritime environment and some of the world’s most important shipping lanes, with 48 criminal incidents recorded in the first quarter of 2017, maritime risk management company MAST has warned.

According to MAST’s Risk Map that logs international maritime incidents in real time, the instability of Somalia and Yemen in the western Indian Ocean and the west coast of Africa are intrinsically linked to rising piracy and criminal activity at sea, with 22 reported attacks in the first quarter of this year.

Despite substantial suppression of piracy in the Indian Ocean region, which at its peak in 2008 cost the global economy around $6bn, the rising numbers make the area a potentially dangerous route for commercial vessels and trade into Europe again.

Poverty and famine, combined with a lack of opportunity, are major drivers for piracy in the region. The international community must therefore work together to support those many people in desperate need of help, MAST warns.

International tension around China’s approach to the Spratly Islands and South China Sea should also cause concern within the shipping community, given their location, China’s aggressive defence of them and President Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). MAST reported a total of 17 maritime crime incidents across Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. Commercial vessels may already be re-routing around these islands and any escalation of tensions in the area could cause increased disruption to trade in the Far East.

Of the 48 incidents in the first three months of this year, 36 involved a ship being boarded by unknown assailants resulting in a robbery, and some cases leading to the ship being hijacked. Reports of criminal activity were also reported in South America (5) and South Asia (4).

Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of MAST and former Royal Navy counter-piracy commander, said: “It is clear is that the maritime environment is linked to global events and not immune to crime and terrorism in their many forms, and that countries overwhelmed by political instability and conflict pose a threat to the shipping routes that they border or have influence over.

“Despite the hard work undertaken by international navies and organisations to tackle piracy at its peak some years ago, recent events have shown the scales are tipping back in the favour of those who would commit or support acts of piracy. The levels of maritime crime recorded in just the first three months of this year show that now is not the time to relax security measures. While some areas may not see an immediate existential threat of piracy or only have a low number of attacks or suspicious activity, the danger and severity of each case is not lessened.

“World shipping depends on the freedom of movement through these areas and so the time is now right for global security standards to be properly enforced and made fit for purpose. The success of Best Management Practice and other measures in the fight against maritime crime in the Indian Ocean has shown that such a goal is now achievable, but it will take input and agreement from many different stakeholders to make the High Seas a safer place to live and work.”
Source: MAST

Minister announces transport sector board appointments

26 April 2017

Media Statement

Minister announces transport sector board appointments

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has today announced appointments and reappointments to the Boards of Maritime New Zealand (MNZ), the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Mr Bridges has reappointed Peter Cowper to the Board of MNZ. He has been a member since May 2011.

“Mr Cowper’s reappointment will provide Board continuity, as he continues to contribute his extensive commercial and leadership skills,” Mr Bridges says.

MNZ is a Crown entity whose primary function is to ensure the safety, security and environmental protection of New Zealand’s coastal and inland waterways. Its Board has five members.

Mr Bridges has also appointed two new members to the Board of the NZTA – former Mayor of Queenstown, Vanessa van Uden and professional director Mark Darrow.

“Ms van Uden brings a new perspective, along with her local government experience.

“Mr Darrow has wide-ranging governance experience, and Chairs the Audit and Risk Committee for the Counties Manukau District Health Board. His appointment brings extensive transport knowledge and an injection of fresh energy to the NZTA’s Board,” Mr Bridges says.

In addition, Mr Bridges has reappointed Adrienne Young-Cooper who has been a member of the NZTA Board since August 2011, and is a member of its Investment and Operations Committee. Ms Young-Cooper’s reappointment provides continuity, as well as strong governance.

NZTA is a Crown entity whose primary role is to contribute to an effective, efficient, and safe land transport system in the public interest. Its Board has eight members.

Mr Bridges has appointed experienced lawyer, Anna Adams and reappointed Grant Lilly, to the Board of the CAA.

“Ms Adams brings experience in public law and regulatory systems. She is also the Board Chair of law firm, Meredith Connell. Her appointment will provide a new perspective for the CAA,” Mr Bridges says.

Mr Lilly has a strong aviation background after 40 years’ experience in the aviation sector. His reappointment will provide continuity to the Board. He has been on the CAA Board since 2011.

The CAA is a Crown entity whose primary function is to regulate and promote an integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable civil aviation system. The CAA Board has five members.
Peter Cowper

Mr Cowper has extensive leadership experience with large and complex technical organisations and environments. He brings substantial experience in defining and managing complex change, consulting, strategic insight, risk management, ICT and telecommunications knowledge, procurement skills and commercial knowledge.

Vanessa van Uden

Ms van Uden has been Mayor and Councillor of Queenstown, a rapidly growing area of New Zealand. She has worked in governance, accounting and contract management. She has recent first-hand experience of local government roles in transport. Ms van Uden splits her time between Queenstown and Wellington.

Mark Darrow

Mr Darrow has a wealth of governance experience, as he is currently Chair of multiple entities and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee for a District Health Board. He has transport sector experience with the Motor Trade Association, Dekra New Zealand, Courier Solutions and Armstrong Motor Group. Mr Darrow is Auckland based.

Adrienne Young-Cooper

Ms Young-Cooper is a senior and experienced Board member, having been on the NZTA Board since August 2011, and is a member of its Investment and Operations Committee. With her background in urban planning and as a company director, Ms Young-Cooper makes informed contributions. Given her previous experience as a Board member of Maritime New Zealand, she has a strong transport background. Ms Young-Cooper is Auckland based.

Anna Adams

Ms Adams is a practicing lawyer and Board Chair of law firm, Meredith Connell. She has been with Meredith Connell since 2003 and a partner since 2008. Her main experience has been in public law, health law, regulatory systems and litigation.

Ms Adams also has a background in public sector policy and managing legal risk. She brings an analytical approach to managing issues and good communication and relationship skills.

Grant Lilly

Mr Lilly has governance experience from a number of director roles in the aviation sector including Queenstown Airport Corporation Limited, Jetconnect Limited, Jetstar Airways Limited, Air Nelson Limited and Eagle Airways Limited. He was a member of the Board of Airline Representatives from 2006 to 2011, and a board member of the New Zealand Business and Parliament Trust from 2008 to 2011.

Kaikōura earthquake: New Zealand loses $500m GDP

The impact on New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the 18 months following the Kaikōura  earthquake has been estimated at $450-$500 million, a new Government-commissioned report says.

The estimated loss is made up of $110-$130 million (25 percent of the total impact) in Canterbury and $340-$370 million (75 percent of the impact) across the rest of New Zealand, Economic Development and Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

“The quake has had a significant effect on people’s lives and businesses which the Government is strongly focused on supporting,” he says.

“As well as the Kaikōura economy, the report shows the national economy has also felt the impact.

“Increased freight transport costs and impacts on businesses from infrastructure damage and transport disruptions are the two key contributing factors.”

The report assessed the impact on small businesses and tourism caused by disruptions to transport infrastructure.


NZTA reviews new Manawatu Gorge routes

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is reviewing alternative routes through the Manawatu Gorge after another major slip cut off the road. It’s the third major slip in the past six years.

But with options ranging in price from $120 million to $1.8 billion, it will be years before the region sees any big changes.

“We will continue to look at what option there might be to replace or have an alternative route as a State Highway to the gorge,” says NZTA highway manager Ross I’Anson.

The options aren’t cheap. Building roads just north or just south of the gorge would cost between $120 and $300 million.

Another option is to build several bridges criss-crossing along the river at a cost of $415 million.

A tunnel going through the area would cost a whopping $1.8 billion.

Aside from the cost, other drawbacks include having to remove wind turbines and steep terrain.

The gorge is expected to be closed for three weeks and two detours are in place.

When the road is cut, businesses that rely on traffic passing through, especially those in Woodville, are hit hard.

The local mayor says although shop owners are nervous when the gorge gets cut, there isn’t much appetite for an alternative route.

In the meantime locals are hoping predicted bad weather won’t slow down the clean-up.