Have Your Say On Proposed Changes To The Regulatory System For Transport

Friday, 24 April 2020, 2:28 pm
Press Release: Transport and Infrastructure Committee

The Transport and Infrastructure Committee is calling for submissions on the Regulatory Systems (Transport) Amendment Bill.

The bill is a vehicle for small regulatory fixes that are intended to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulatory system for transport. It intends to achieve this by:

· addressing duplication, gaps, errors, and inconsistencies in transport legislation

· ensuring regulators are able to keep the regulatory system up to date and relevant

· removing unnecessary compliance costs.

The bill would enable land and maritime transport Rules, through the usual Rule making process, to include transport instruments. A specified person, which could be the New Zealand Transport Agency or the Director of Land Transport (a role that would be established by the Land Transport (NZTA) Legislation Amendment Bill), or the Maritime Transport Authority or Director of Maritime Transport, could then establish and maintain the transport instrument. Examples of what a transport instrument could do include listing standards, controlling activities, setting requirements, procedures, or means of compliance.

The bill would also clarify powers of exemption from secondary legislation (including the revocation of exemptions) and make amendments to other minor regulatory stewardship matters.

These amendments would not justify standalone bills, but are more significant than amendments generally included in a statutes amendment bill. The bill is part of a series of activities described in the Transport Regulatory Stewardship Plan for 2019 – 22, which aim to support the regulatory system for transport.

Some of the changes in the bill complement changes being made in the Land Transport (NZTA) Legislation Amendment Bill, which is also being considered by the Transport and Infrastructure Committee.

Tell the Transport and Infrastructure Committee what you think

Make a submission on the bill by midnight on 1 June 2020.

For more details about the bill:

· Read the full content of the bill

· Get more details about the bill

· What’s been said in Parliament about the bill?

· Follow the committee’s Facebook page for updates

Covid 19 coronavirus: 2500 construction workers set for work on transport projects

Auckland Transport will reopen 160 worksites and get 2500 workers back on the job next week. Photo / Michael Craig
Auckland Transport will reopen 160 worksites and get 2500 workers back on the job next week. Photo / Michael Craig
Ben Leahy

By: Ben LeahyBen Leahy is a reporter for the New Zealand HeraldBen.Leahy@nzherald.co.nz

Around 2500 construction workers are set to head back to work on Auckland Transport projects next week.

AT had earlier closed down 160 worksites across the city during the Covid-19 alert level 4 lockdown, but they would now reopen from next Tuesday.

“These projects are worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” AT chief executive Shane Ellison said.

“Some are high profile, like the huge Eastern Busway project, the Downtown programme and Karangahape Rd enhancements, while others are smaller local projects, like road sealing, footpath works and building pedestrian crossings.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said getting the 160 sites going again would be a big boost for the local economy, but it wouldn’t be the only one.

The Government announced in January it was putting up money under the Infrastructure Upgrade to invest in a series of big projects.

Goff said new projects that were shovel-ready and able to tap into that funding would be announced next month.

Getting worksites up to new safety standards was important, he said.

“But it’s also important that we can start to regenerate economic activity and contribute to a growth of income and jobs needed to drag the city and country out of recession.”

AT’s Ellison said that while reduced traffic on city streets offered a great chance to get on with the projects, going back to work would look different for some time into the future.

“Lunch break, for instance, is going to be very different with the workers still having to maintain safe distancing and bubbles,” he said.

Each project site has developed a health and safety plan based on Ministry of Health guidance and the Covid-19 Standard for NZ Construction Operations.

These measures include physical distancing, construction bubbles, compulsory personal protective equipment, hygiene practices on-site and separating teams into zones on larger projects.

One of AT’s most high-profile projects was in the city centre, where 190 construction workers would be back on the job from Tuesday.

Programme director Eric van Essen said workers would be kept in about 30 bubbles on six sites.

“Each worker will be assigned to a bubble and, if they need to go between bubbles, they will have to wear a mask and keep 2m distance.

“We will keep a strict record of anyone entering or leaving a bubble, including anyone making site deliveries,” van Essen said.

The first activity on the site will be setting up cleaning and hygiene stations and bubble entry and exit points.

“We will do this preparation work ahead of Tuesday and then be ready when alert level 3 kicks in on Tuesday and the workers turn up for this new, more challenging way to work.”

AT said it had helped construction companies keep workers in jobs by making $18 million in advance payments to contractors on existing projects.

The cash injection came through an Advance Entitlement Payment scheme for construction contractors, with the NZ Transport Agency also offering a similar scheme to its contractors.

How AT plans to keep workers safe during alert level 3

* Inductions for new project staff and compulsory Covid-19 education and training will be part of ongoing site protocols while in level 2 and 3 scenarios

* Crews will stay in their work bubbles when travelling to and from work and while at work and going on toilet and meal breaks

* Whenever possible, individuals will maintain at least 1m distance from others.

* There will be no entering other work bubbles unless prior approval is granted.

* Masks will be worn if individuals are working within 2m of their team member or enter a different bubble.

* There will be no sharing of any food, drink or cigarettes or kitchen utensils, cups, plates and other equipment.

* There will be no sharing of plant, equipment and tools across bubbles and there will be minimal sharing within each work bubble.

* All crews are to follow hygiene guidance.

* All crews are to follow existing PPE requirements, including the wearing of gloves and safety glasses.

* No person is to come to work if they, or any members of their home bubble experience flu-like symptoms.

*Every person is to keep a record of all interactions with anyone outside of their home and work bubbles in case contact tracing is required.

NZ Transport Agency planning for restart of billions-worth of roading projects

Joel Maxwell05:00, Apr 21 2020

Planning is underway to restart significant roading projects such as Transmission Gully, untouched since lockdown.

However questions remain about whether there are even enough staff left in New Zealand to complete them – or when they might now be finished.

Last week the Government released a broad-stroke outline of what could happen when the nation steps down to Level 3 restrictions: allowing construction work with health, safety and distancing controls.

NZ Transport Agency senior manager Andrew Thackwray said on Friday staff were developing plans for restarting work nationwide on its highway project sites.

The Gully route cuts through the hills beside the existing State Highway 1. FILE
SUPPLIEDThe Gully route cuts through the hills beside the existing State Highway 1. FILE

Billions-worth of highway projects around New Zealand  – including the long sought-after Transmission Gully – were shut down during Level 4.

Thackwray said the planning, in tandem with the Government, covered how work would restart during different alert levels, while following coronavirus restrictions and protections for workers and road users. 

It was too early to say when work might resume on specific capital projects or non-essential highway maintenance activity he said, speaking before the Government announced Level 4 would end on April 27.

The agency did not answer questions on whether sufficient staff were even available to work on Transmission Gully once it was allowed to restart. It could not say what effect the delay would have on planned penalties, including a $10m penalty if the road was not opened by December 18.

Works stopped on Transmission Gully at the start of the level 4 lockdown. FILE
ROSS GIBLINWorks stopped on Transmission Gully at the start of the level 4 lockdown. FILE

As previously reported by Stuff, a Transmission Gully contractor, who did not wish to be named, said work was likely to be delayed even before lockdown because staff were leaving “in droves”. Many Australian staff due to return from their days off decided to quit rather than be stuck in New Zealand. 

Thackwray said the Level 4 shutdown “and other effects of Covid-19” would likely have an impact on the completion dates for many projects.

“But it is too early to say what the impact may be for individual projects.”

About $1.3b worth of roading work was underway on State Highway 1 in the Wellington region – split between the billion-dollar Transmission Gully project and the northern section of the Kāpiti expressway.

Transmission Gully roading works at Pauatahanui. FILE
ROSS GIBLIN/STUFFTransmission Gully roading works at Pauatahanui. FILE

The Peka Peka to Ōtaki section of the expressway was initially expected to open this year but is now planned to open early next year. 

Transmission Gully, planned in one form or another for about a century, was initially expected to open this month – then, pre-coronavirus, was planned to open by November.

After this date late penalties would kick in for the contracted builder, including a $10m penalty if the road is not opened by December 18.

Construction began in 2015 on the 27 kilometre-long road, connecting Linden in north Wellington to just north of Paekākāriki on the Kāpiti Coast​.

Once both sections are opened there will be four lanes running continuously from north of Ōtaki to the Terrace Tunnel, in central Wellington.

The $650m first section of the Kāpiti expressway opened in 2017.

HMM launches world’s biggest box ship – but its first voyage may be the last

(photo 3)

By Gavin van Marle 23/04/2020

As South Korean shipping line HMM today formally launched the world’s largest containership, the country’s government outlined an enormous financial package to prop up its maritime industries.

According to a report in The South Korea Herald, the ministry for oceans and fisheries has set aside SKw1.25trn (US$1bn) to help shipping lines, shipyards and other maritime players.

Minister Moon Seong-hyeok said: “The shipping firms are expected to suffer more serious damage after the second quarter, considering the time lapse between the global economic turmoil and the decline in their performances.”

The Herald additionally reports that the Korea Development Bank and state-owned Korea Ocean Business Corporation will also spend SKw470bn to repay HMM’s maturing debts.

The fresh injection of cash coincides with the launch of the 24,000 teu HMM Algeciras at the DSME shipyard in Okpo in a ceremony attended by President Moon Jae-in.

“It is very meaningful that HMM takes delivery of the most technologically advanced containership in this difficult time. I would like to celebrate it and hope that HMM continues to secure a competitive advantage as a Korean national flagship carrier,” he said.

The vessel is set to be phased into The Alliance’s FE4 Asia-North Europe service, currently operated by 12 14,500 teu Hapag-Lloyd vessels.

However, its first sailing could also be its last, at least for a while, as the demand slump in North Europe for containerised goods, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, has led The Alliance partners to merge the FE4 and FE2 strings. FE2 is currently operated by 12 18,800-21,200 teu vessels from Hapag-Lloyd and ONE, according to eeSea data.

In terms of current capacity allocation on the FE2, eeSea estimates that Hapag-Lloyd takes 40% of slots, ONE 36%, Yang Ming 15% and HMM 9%.

However, the South Korean carrier is set to add significant capacity to the alliance over the next year, with an order dated September 2018 for 20 vessels from three shipyards – DSME, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI).

DSME and SHI are building build seven and five 24,000 teu box ships, respectively, scheduled for delivery through to September, while HHI is building eight 16,000 teu vessels to be delivered from the second quarter of next year.

Is global political action needed to help shipping go green?

Our planet is facing its greatest challenge, and it’s not coronavirus. Asbjørn Halsebakke, Product Manager, Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch, ponders how greater political action could help the maritime industry meet its most ambitious environmental goals.

Why hasn’t the climate crisis elicited the same urgent response from global governments as the corona pandemic? When confronted with the terrible threat of viral spread, national leaders from Boris Johnson to Narendra Modi, and from Donald Trump to Xi Jingping, have rapidly introduced emergency measures, the like of which we’ve never before imagined, let alone experienced. Huge swathes of the economy have been shut down, public behavior and interaction have been transformed, literally overnight.

The world today is unrecognizable from just a few short weeks ago. There is much to lament about those changes, but also something to applaud in the speed and impact of international response. National leaders, politicians, businesses and consumers have listened to experts, understood the threat and moved to mitigate it in every way possible. Unthinkable policies have been passed without question, with enormous aid packages agreed on, while financial and trade concerns are simply sidelined as we collectively embrace survival mode.

It is, from a detached viewpoint, extraordinarily impressive.

An existential crisis

Let me stress now – I am not downplaying the danger of Covid-19 and have huge sympathy for everyone impacted, in any way, by this crisis.

But it does beg the question, why can’t governments and the international community respond to the issue of climate change with a similar level of commitment? This is the world’s number one emergency – an existential crisis for humanity, threatening our very survival. And it’s not just about the long-term sustainability of society…the impacts now, today, are there for all to see.

For example, The World Health Organization estimates that seven million people die every year due to air pollution. Seven million. The same body reports that between 2030 and 2050 an additional 250,000 deaths will occur each year as a direct result of further global warming, relating to factors such as heat stress and malnutrition. And that’s before we get on to rising sea levels, wildfires, extreme weather and, well, the list goes on.

Our world is dying. And we’re the ones killing it.

And what is the response from those in power?

Compare it, if you can even visualize it, in relation to the current health crisis.

It’s clear, surely, that something needs to be done.

Support our industry!

As the chief engine for global trade and the enabler that allows us to access the resources and wealth of our ocean space, shipping has a key role to play. We need to change our industry if we are to help change the world.

Work is underway. The IMO has set the ambitious, yet crucial, target of reducing GHG emissions by 50% (compared to 2008 levels) by 2050, with the overall aim of eliminating them entirely. This is to be applauded, but it also needs to be supported.

When I speak to shipowners, I usually find them eager to introduce green technology, help reduce emissions and work towards a more sustainable industry. But, quite frankly, they cannot make this transition alone. They need help.

Shipping is a tough and notoriously capital-intensive market. Retrofitting environmentally friendly solutions may not be the first priority when you’re either struggling to stay afloat or edge ahead of the competition in a cut-throat market. At the same time, newbuilding yards generally won’t fit the best environmental solution for a vessel unless the customer presses them – they’ll fit the one that delivers the greatest margin. And who can blame them?

So, the industry requires clear, strategic and impactful assistance to meet its lofty goals. It needs governments and regulators to step in and deliver the policy and instruments that will facilitate the green shift now…because this is a matter that will not wait.

Enabling change

What those measures should be are open to debate. Taxes on vessels with poor environmental performance would encourage the uptake of better solutions, while the income from those taxes could be used to support the development and installation of new technology. Stricter regulations would require compliance, but perhaps the financial burden could be shifted to government – in the same way as they are providing aid right now – with green grants, or access to funding that is reliant on meeting stringent environmental criteria.

Research into green synthetic fuels – a vaccine against pollution – could be fast-tracked and centrally supported, while technology that is already available and proven today, such as batteries and hybrid systems, could be encouraged for immediate efficiency and emissions gains on today’s world fleet.

Newbuilds with future-proof technology, capable of utilizing any fuel source, such as The Switch DC-Hub, could be incentivized for owners, ensuring that they have the capability to meet all future regulations and fuel mixes, for long-term compliance and efficient sailing.

These are relatively modest measures that could translate into huge environmental benefits – for our industry, society and the planet. We just need to get started.

Call to action

The environmental crisis is more abstract than its corona sibling, so it’s harder to imagine the direct individual consequences for each and every one of us. Unfortunately, we may not be able to do that until it’s too late – until we’ve passed the point where our actions can achieve meaningful change.

Despite this short-term crisis, we have to try to not lose sight of our long-term future. And to even have one, we need action from our industry, with the strong support of governments and regulators across the world. That will be the deal breaker.

We can do this if we work together. And, if the corona pandemic has proven anything, it’s shown we are certainly capable of doing that, achieving extraordinary things in remarkably tight timescales.

The biggest challenges require the greatest responses, and there is no bigger threat than climate change. It’s time for those in power to respond. The world demands it.
Source: Yaskawa

Track arrives for $205m Auckland to Whangarei rail upgrade

More than 100km of new rail track has arrived at Northport, ready to go onto the rail line between Auckland and Whangārei.
More than 100km of new rail track has arrived at Northport, ready to go onto the rail line between Auckland and Whangārei.

By: Mike Dinsdale

The major upgrade of Northland’s rail line can’t continue until the coronavirus lockdown ends, but to keep the plan on track more than 100km of new rail line has landed in Whangārei for when work can restart.

The Government is putting more than $205 million into the region’s rail network, including upgrading the line to Auckland and building a spur line to Northport, the deepwater port at Marsden Pt.

Now, 107.7km of rail track has landed at Northport, where it will be stored until the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted.

All physical work on the upgrade is suspended due to the lockdown but KiwiRail is focused on progressing the project wherever possible, group chief executive Greg Miller said. However, unloading the rail track is not without its problems.

“The Northport team is doing an outstanding job working to unload the rail in smaller teams under social distancing requirements, which both Northport and KiwiRail take extremely seriously given the current pandemic,” Miller said.

“Unloading goods from ships is an essential service as New Zealand needs to remain connected with global freight movements and keep the flow of domestic freight moving. Once the current alert levels drop, we will be able to collect and distribute the rail, ready for it to replace worn-out sections of track.”

KiwiRail teams continue to work from home to co-ordinate the massive project and finalise design details.

“Tunnels will be lowered to enable hi-cube container freight to be transported on the line, which will have a huge impact on how freight is moved in and out of Northland,” Miller said.

“We’re also replacing up to five aging bridges so we can run heavier trains, with these larger containers on the line.

“Having the materials, like the new rail delivery, is crucial for delivering this upgrade for the region.”

Improvements to Northland’s railway lines are being made with almost $205 million of funding from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

A portion of the newly arrived rail will be used for other essential track replacement work throughout the North Island.

Most of the rail will be used to replace existing medium-weight rail, rail in tunnels, and sections of heavily worn rail in Northland.

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones, who is in charge of the PGF, welcomed the rail track delivery.

“I’m really heartened to see the 107,000 metres of heavy-weight rail arriving at Northport, most of which will be used to upgrade the rail line between Swanson and Whangārei,” Jones said.

“The Government is investing almost $205 million into Northland rail – including purchasing land for a potential spur line to Marsden Point – which will help create local jobs and see tens of millions of dollars fed in the regional economy.

“We’re in a very fluid situation with Covid-19. It’s too early to say exactly when work will start but we are getting ready to hit the ground running as soon as it is safe.”

He said when New Zealand emerges from the impacts of Covid-19, the investment in Northland rail will be a welcome boost to the region’s economy.