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21st August 2018

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Northport Joins Country’s Container Sector

May 11 marked Northport’s arrival on the New Zealand container port scene, when Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) makes its first export loading on the newly-revamped Kiwi Express schedule.

Coming as part of a larger service restructure, the new fortnightly call on the Singapore-Jakarta-Brisbane-Sydney-Auckland-Tauranga-Wellington-Napier-Auckland-Northport-Brisbane-Tanjung Pelepas-Singapore rotation has been predicated on fruit exports.

Zespri, New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry co-operative, is a key backer of the development. Northland produces about 3.5m trays of kiwifruit each year and it has been estimated that exporting directly from Northport will potentially save NZ$66 of the NZ$102 cost per pallet of the alternative of transporting to the Port of Tauranga for despatch.

MSC containership Northern Diplomat delivered 158 empty containers to the port on April 20 in preparation for the first export loading on the service, which Northport commercial manager David Finchett hopes will continue beyond the current fruit export season.

“Our goal is to build cargo volumes to the point where the service becomes regular instead of seasonal,” he says. “If we can demonstrate consistent demand for this shipping link from Northland importers and exporters there is no reason why it should not become a weekly service instead of a fortnightly one.”

Prisoners to refurbish shipping containers into op shop

The concept for the shipping container op shop, which will be located in Rānui, West Auckland.

The concept for the shipping container op shop, which will be located in Rānui, West Auckland.
An unlikely partnership has formed between a charity for vulnerable women and Auckland prisoners.

Auckland prisoners will transform two 6-metre shipping containers into an op shop for Shakti NZ, a community group which supported women and families.

The op shops were aimed at creating and marketing up-cycled, refurbished and re-purposed goods for the community.

Once completed, in six to eight weeks, the containers would provide affordable shopping, raise money for Shakti and provide jobs in Rānui.

Shakti NZ council member Farida Sultana said the project would provide skill development and employment opportunities for vulnerable women.

The agreement for prisoners to work on refurbish shipping containers was signed on April 19. Front from left: Fathin ...

The agreement for prisoners to work on refurbish shipping containers was signed on April 19. Front from left: Fathin Doray, Melanie Hohua, Farida Sultana, Jeanette Burns, and Gloria Andzue. Back from left: Helen Haslam, David Grear, Charmaine Pountney, Frank Tonetti, and Purabi Bhuiyan.
“We will be teaching women sewing and other skills [so] they could make things at home and bring it, and then we will buy it to sell in the shop.”

Sultana said much of the work within the op shop would be done by women survivors of abuse and violence, creating pathways for the women to become skilled members of the workforce.

“This is a positive project that prisoners can also get engaged with too, which means they are giving something back to the community.”

Corrections’ Northern Regional commissioner Jeanette Burns said it gave prisoners skills which would help them find jobs when released.

 – Stuff

New $4.5m container depot in Napier a ‘win-win’, says owner Mana Ahuriri Trust

 Barry Wilson, Joinella Maihi-Carroll and Piriniha Prentice (Mana Ahuriri Trust), Paul Harris, Ken Harris, Jesse Reynolds, Juliet Harris, Arthur Shaw (ContainerCo). Photo / Supplied
Barry Wilson, Joinella Maihi-Carroll and Piriniha Prentice (Mana Ahuriri Trust), Paul Harris, Ken Harris, Jesse Reynolds, Juliet Harris, Arthur Shaw (ContainerCo). Photo / Supplied

Better work prospects for Maori could be just one of the welcome spin-offs from the arrival of a new $4.5 million container depot in Napier.

A new shipping container depot officially opened this week, with property owner Mana Ahuriri Trust regarding it as a long-term win-win with the prospects of job creation for its people and certainty of sustainable growth for new tenants ContainerCo Limited.

Mana Ahuriri Trust chairman Piriniha Prentice said the Mersey St land formed part of its Waitangi Treaty Settlement with the Crown.

“We see this as a good way of getting our investment portfolio underway. We’re thrilled to provide a new site for ContainerCo as it not only gives us long-term cash flow but provides our people with career opportunities.

“For us, business relationships are ‘about people’ not transactions; creating career opportunities for our people as well as developing long-term relationships with successful businesses such as ContainerCo,” Mr Prentice said.

ContainerCo is one of New Zealand’s leading independent container storage and servicing businesses, operating at six strategic sites, which serve the four largest ports in New Zealand – Ports of Auckland, Port of Tauranga, Lyttelton Port of Christchurch and Napier Port.

ContainerCo Hawke’s Bay manager Garry Fly said the five-hectare site was a consolidation of its two container park sites in Battery Rd (which closed in 2016) and Austin St, which will be transitioned to closure or re-purposed next year.

Mr Fly said the $4.5m investment provided a strong signal of export and import growth in Hawke’s Bay as well as the success of Port Napier in attracting cargo to and from the wider region.

The facility would store up to 4000-5000 empty containers (TEUs) which can be cleaned, repaired, tested and stored on behalf of some of the world’s leading shipping companies.

It will also be the regional home for ContainerCo’s container hire and sales, and specialised refrigeration businesses.

“The new site futureproofs our presence in Hawke’s Bay. We have seen significant growth in the requirement for various container and other shipper related services in recent years and expect this to continue.”

Mr Fly said the business has a fantastic relationship with Mana Ahuriri that extends well beyond being the norm of a tenant and landlord contract.

“This is a unique partnership and we will be working with Mana Ahuriri to create career opportunities starting from apprenticeships through to management.”

The Napier facility employed 15 staff.

Additional development of the facility will provide a new range of services designed to support containerised horticultural exports in the region.

Last year, Napier Port handled a record 48,310 TEU through on-port packing facility Port Pack.

The top 5 transport stories in 2017

This year saw multiple transport milestones: from the world’s first electronic freight trucks, to fully solar-powered trains, to landmark decisions to ban the sale of purely diesel and petrol-powered cars across the world.

Could this year mark the point when the transport sector truly charts a course for sustainability? Here are the top five transport stories in 2017.

1. End of the road for petrol and diesel cars

In a move that was heralded as a tipping point for the global automotive industry, China in September said it is working on a plan to end the manufacture and sale of fossil-fuel powered cars. The country, which is the world’s largest car market, did not announce a fixed timeline for this goal.

Other countries which made similar commitments this year include the United Kingdom and France, which plan to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, and India, which announced a goal to sell only electric cars by 2030. This was a plan that some saw as ambitious, and others as unviable.

Sweden-based, Chinese-owned industry giant Volvo also announced that it will make only electric and hybrid cars from 2019 onwards, becoming the world’s first major car maker to abandon pure internal combustion engine cars.

2. Dockless debates

Traditional models of bicycle-sharing in cities where users can rent a bike from one location and return it at another station have been around for a while, but 2017 was arguably the year of dockless bicycle sharing.

Chinese companies such as Mobike, Ofo, oBike and ReddyGo expanded exponentially, in China and cities worldwide. Ofo for instance placed 100 bikes on the streets of Oxford, UK, and said it plans to have 20 million bikes on the road across 200 cities by the end of this year. Competitor firm Mobike also launched 1,000 bright orange bikes in Manchester. In Australia, China-backed ReddyGo in June brought “thousands” of bikes to Sydney, while oBike debuted in Melbourne.

Many acknowledge the schemes as an effective means of reducing air pollution and traffic congestion—especially in China’s notoriously smoggy cities—but the rapid proliferation of bike-sharing has created a situation where supply vastly exceeds demand, and users have abused the dockless model to indiscriminately dump bikes in public places.

3. Electric overhaul for freight

The company widely regarded as a leader in electric car innovation unveiled the Tesla Semi Truck in November, opening up the potential to electrify the global freight vehicle market.

Available in models with a range of 300 and 500 miles, the trucks will be available for purchase in 2019. Companies such as package delivery firm UPSUS retail giant Walmart, food firm Pepisco have collectively pre-ordered more than 200 models.

4. Here comes the solar train

Australia’s Byron Bay Railroad Company unveiled the world’s first fully electric, solar-powered train in December. The 100-seater train, which plies a three-kilometre round route in the northern New South Wales district, has a 6.5 kilowatt (kW) solar panel array on the train roof, and is fitted with a 77 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery storage system. This is enough storage for between 12 and 15 trips, according to reports.

Brian Flannery, the multimillionaire businessman who funded the solar train, noted that a train plying a longer route would need recharging stations along the way, and added that the technology might be well suited for use in inner city trams.

Meanwhile India, home to Asia’s largest rail network, in July unveiled its first solar powered train. These trains still use diesel to move, but all air conditioning, lighting, and information displays on board are solar powered. Indian Railways estimates that using solar on board the 11,000 trains it operates daily could save the company US$6.31 billion over the next 10 years.

5. Plastic roads

Though not a new technology, the concept of building roads using plastic waste gained mainstream popularity this year. Indonesia, which is among the top five plastic polluting countries in the world, tested out the practice of mixing shredded, melted plastic waste with tar to make more durable, cheaper, and stronger roads this year. The initial test along a 700-metre stretch of road was carried out at a university in Bali, and officials plan to expand the solution to major cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya soon.

Analysts also urged India, where at least 15,000 deaths were caused by potholes in 2016, to make more roads using plastic. Though the Indian government made it mandatory to incorporate waste in highways in 2015, some states have been slow to adopt the practice.

The plastic road movement also caught on the United Kingdom this year, when engineer Toby McCartney and his start-up MacRebur persuaded two English councils to use waste to build their roads in April.

Shanghai port handling capacity breaks record

The annual handling capacity of Shanghai Port surpassed 40 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) on Friday, breaking an existing world record, according to the Shanghai International Port Group.

As one of China’s largest ports, Shanghai Port started container transportation in 1978 with a handling capacity of 7,951 TEUs that year. The port’s throughput exceeded 30 million TEUs in 2011.

In December 2017, Shanghai Yangshan Deep Water Port, the world’s biggest automated container terminal, started trial operations.

The project uses automated handling equipment designed and manufactured in China, as well as a domestically developed automated management system.

It has helped consolidate the port’s standing as the world’s busiest container port and supported Shanghai’s efforts to become a world shipping center.
Source: Xinhua

Railway from Picton to Christchurch closes again after wet start to October

A wet start to October has caused slips to come down on the Main North Line, which is expected to remain closed until the end of the month.

The newly rebuilt railway line from Picton to Christchurch could be closed for the rest of the month after recent rain brought slips down across the tracks.

Hundreds of spectators turned up to watch the first freight train since the November earthquake take the Main North Line on September 15.

The celebration was short lived. Heavy rain closed the track after the one train went through. It reopened 10 days later, but has closed again.

Hundreds turned up to watch the first freight train since the November earthquake take to the track on September 15. The ...



KiwiRail blamed the latest closure on an unusually wet start to October for the Kaikōura region.

Acting chief executive David Gordon said the “unusually heavy rainfall” caused 31 slips in the area, including three major slips onto the railway line and next to State Highway 1.

He said KiwiRail was working to “make repairs and add resilience” ahead of the peak freight period.

“At this stage we expect services to operate on the line again at the end of this month.”

KiwiRail ran two freight trains each weeknight on the line, leaving it clear during the day and over the weekend for additional repairs to the track and SH1.

Gordon said some disruption was always possible with the limited reopening, but the rain created “much greater disruption than we could reasonably predict”.

He said KiwiRail regretted the impact on customers – and that they could not take some of the freight burden away from the Lewis Pass, which is on the alternative highway route while SH1 is repaired.

KiwiRail previously claimed the Main North Line reopening would take 2000 trucks a month of the road, a figure some in the industry disputed.

At the last closure, general group manager network services Todd Moyle said the Main North Line was likely to shut up to 25 days a year, based on its current state.

MetService forecaster Cameron Coutts said Kaikōura had received 84 millimetres of rain so far in October, which was “well above” the month’s average of 57mm.

He said it should be dry and relatively warm before showers returned on Monday and Tuesday. A “settled spell” was expected for the latter half of next week.

“In saying that, we’re still in spring, so it’s still pretty changeable,” Coutts said.

 – Stuff

Cubic resumes inter-island rail service

We have good news and bad news about the resumption of limited rail services.

Cubic has access to a limited number of container slots on one of the two daily trains each way between Picton and Christchurch.  These slots are very expensive in the post-earthquake freight environment, due to scarcity and the need for KiwiRail to recover costs.

Slots on these services are available on a “take or pay” basis.  Meaning a confirmed booking is charged for whether or not the container is presented prior to cut off.

A wait list system is operating but there is no discount or other latitude with wait-listed bookings.

If you want rates for inter-island rail services please email sales@cubic.co.nz

For an update on Kaikoura earthquake recovery click here to download NZTA’s latest bulletin.


Cargo containers lost at sea are hard to count, track

About 10 days ago, a cargo ship caught in rough swells off the Brazilian coast lost 45 shipping containers.
Video on social media shows fishermen in small boats scavenging for whatever they could find from the containers, some of which apparently burst when they hit the water, according to a BBC report.
Among the loot: air-conditioning units, bicycles, clothing and hospital equipment.
Such incidents, while relatively rare, do happen now and then.
Nearly two years ago, in October 2015, all 33 crew members, along with 391 containers and some trucks and trailers, were lost when the El Faro met Hurricane Joaquin in the Bermuda Triangle.
Two months later, a ship en route from Oakland, Calif., to Seattle lost a dozen 40-foot containers just outside of the Golden Gate Bridge. Most were empty, but some carried Styrofoam insulation and plastic crates that rolled up onto beaches, according to www.sfgate.com.
When millions of Lego pieces lost in a 1997 container-ship incident began washing up on English beaches, the conventional wisdom was that about 10,000 containers a year fall overboard , a figure often cited in reports about such losses over the years.
“It’s an issue that’s really flown under the radar,” said John Kaltenstein, an Arizona-based senior policy analyst with Friends of the Earth. “This is an issue that hasn’t been tracked properly, and I think it’s one of those that could use more scrutiny.”
As container ships continue to grow in size – the Port of Virginia is about to welcome its first vessel able to carry 14,000 containers measured in standard, 20-foot units – it’s hard not to think about the unthinkable.
Six years ago, the World Shipping Council, a Washington-based trade group whose members account for about 80 percent of global ocean-carrier capacity, got on the case.
Beginning with a survey in 2011, the group asked its members – which include major carriers such as Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM – to report the number of containers lost overboard for the preceding three years.
It found that over the total nine-year period covered in its surveys, from 2008 through 2016, an average of 568 containers were lost at sea each year.
That figure, however, doesn’t include catastrophic events, which the council defines as those that claim 50 or more containers. Factor them in, and the average rises to 1,582 a year.
Nearly two-thirds of the containers lost in that time period were linked to catastrophic accidents, the council states. Among them: the complete loss of the MOL Comfort in 2013 in the Indian Ocean, with 4,293 containers, the worst container-ship loss to date; and the grounding of the M/V Rena off New Zealand, when roughly 900 containers were lost.
Last year, ocean carriers moved about 130 million containers packed with cargo, with an estimated value of more than $4 trillion, the council noted, and containers lost overboard represent about one-thousandth of 1 percent of that total.
Maersk Line, the biggest ocean carrier in the world, moved 13.2 million full containers last year, of which 23 were lost overboard, Katherine Mosquera, a spokeswoman, said in an email.
Among an array of things the company is doing to prevent future losses: an “increased focus on route planning, especially in poor weather conditions.”
Kaltenstein said that while he applauds the industry’s efforts to better account for container losses, he has some questions.
Ideally, the statistics provided would offer a fuller picture of what’s going on and where, he said: “What we’re seeing is really composite data,” with no information about the date and location of the losses, the number of containers lost per incident or their contents, or which company was involved, among other things.
Kaltenstein also noted that the World Shipping Council had to extrapolate from its members’ data to get an estimate of the losses from the 20 percent of ocean-carrier capacity the group doesn’t represent, some of which may be operated by carriers that don’t have the same standards as the council’s membership.
Even if its average figure of more than 1,500 containers lost per year is on target, he noted, over the course of a decade that’s still 15,000 containers.
In late February 2004, the Med Taipei, en route to the Port of Los Angeles, lost 24 containers – 15 of them in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary south of San Francisco.
In June 2004, scientists with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute found one of them – holding 1,159 steel-belted car tires – resting upside down on the seafloor, at a depth of about 4,200 feet.
Using proceeds from a resulting legal settlement, the marine sanctuary has turned the container into a kind of science experiment, monitoring the impact site to track decomposition rates along with “potential impacts over time of steel containers and contents, as well as the recovery rates of natural habitats in the deep seafloor,” according to the sanctuary’s website.
“Our lost container is really the only shipping container in the world that’s being studied in the deep over time,” said Andrew DeVogelaere, research director for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
He questions the accuracy of the often-quoted figure of 10,000 containers lost a year, but he also wonders whether surveying companies that have an interest in showing lower numbers is the best way of getting to the truth.
“I don’t know that anybody knows what the true number is, but I’m glad that people are working on firming that up,” DeVogelaere said.
He knows this much, though: “When they are lost, they’ll sit on the sea floor for hundreds of years. It’s a big deal.”
He terms lost containers another form of marine debris and says that the impact on organisms and communities in the deep sea is still being identified: “We don’t even know what the names of many of the deep-sea organisms are or their role in the ocean ecosystem.”
Michael McDaniel is a maritime attorney and principal of a Los Angeles-based law firm whose clients have been involved in such disasters as the El Faro, the MOL Comfort and the M/V Rena.
One of the questions commonly raised at his firm is how many lost-container incidents go unreported. Among other reasons, shipping companies want to avoid the regulatory entanglements to which they can lead, he said.
“Some incidents just aren’t reported, you know, especially in some parts of the world,” he said.
Curtis Ebbesmeyer is perhaps the granddaddy of those with a keen interest in lost-container incidents worldwide.
He has tracked them for decades and oversees a global network of beachcombers.
A Seattle-based oceanographer with 50 years of experience, he remembers when thousands of Nike athletic shoes began to wash up on Pacific Northwest beaches about 25 years ago.
“Each Nike shoe has a serial number, and Nike actually cooperated with me, through their marine department, to figure out what ship it came from,” Ebbesmeyer said. “That’s a very unusual thing.”
Typically, when container debris washes up on a beach, there’s no way to identify the source, he said.
Ebbesmeyer takes credit for first throwing out the 10,000 figure decades ago and notes that the World Shipping Council survey results cover a period that began less than 10 years ago.
If there were a way to track the data back to the 1980s and ’90s, he believes his estimate would stand up.
In any case, the larger issue isn’t really the number of containers, he argues, so much as what’s in them and finding a way to hold accountable those responsible for lost goods that end up on shorelines worldwide.
“It’s almost like, if it goes overboard, it’s out of sight, out of mind,” Ebbesmeyer said. “We have massive numbers of people cleaning up beaches, but they can’t tell where it comes from.”
A single container can carry 5 million plastic shopping bags, which if lost at sea could itself become a catastrophe, Ebbesmeyer said.
“It’s a very deep and dark topic,” he said. “But I must compliment the industry; they’re doing better and better.”
Source: The Virginian Pilot

Government to allocate $11 billion to new infrastructure

The government has announced it will allocate $11 billion in new capital infrastructure over the next four Budgets, in addition to funds already included in agency baselines – a move welcomed by the transport industry.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce says New Zealand is growing faster than it has for a long time and adding more jobs all over the country: “That’s a great thing, but to keep growing, it’s important we keep investing in the infrastructure that enables that growth.”

Mr Joyce says that the focus will be on the infrastructure that supports growth, with capital investment in Budget 2017 being increased to $4 billion, including $812 million for reinstating State Highway 1 north and south of Kaikoura.

“We are investing hugely in new schools, hospitals, housing, roads, and railways. This investment will extend that run-rate significantly, and include new investment in the justice and defence sectors as well.”

The capital commitment in Budget 2017 will represent the biggest addition to the government’s capital stock in decades. “To put that into context, the net new capital allocated in the last four Budgets was $4.8 billion, of which $4.1 billion was funded through the proceeds of the mixed ownership model programme,” Mr Joyce says.

“In Budget 2016 we were forecasting just $3.6 billion in new capital spend between Budget 17 and Budget 20, compared to $11 billion now, and that’s an additional spend on top of investments already planned by the government,” he explains.

“If you add the government’s budgeted new capital investment together with the investment made through baselines and through the National Land Transport Fund, the total is around $23 billion over the next four years, or an average of nearly $6 billion per year. And we want to extend that further, with greater use of public-private partnerships, and joint ventures between central and local government and private investors.”


Stephen Selwood, CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand, says the further $11 billion in new capital infrastructure is very welcome. “This is a massive increase and the largest capital investment commitment by any government since the 1970s, but it must be said that New Zealand’s growth challenge is the highest it has ever been, and meeting population demands requires the services for a city larger than Nelson to be added every year,” he notes.

“Added to the growth challenge is New Zealand’s historic under-investment in infrastructure. The reality is that it would not be difficult to spend $11 billion in 2017 alone.”

Mr Selwood points out the government’s commitment to the Kaikoura rebuild, along with its $1.5 billion contribution to Auckland’s City Rail Link and a further $1.5 billion on the East-West Link, a billion more on each of Mill Road, the northern busway extension and the northwestern busway, $400 million on Penlink, plus state highway improvements in the regions is enough to consume all $11 billion, “let alone much-needed investment in health, education and housing nationwide,” he adds. “To get full value out of national resources, the government is going to need to use its funding to unlock private investment.”


Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley says the government’s decision to fund $11 billion of new capital infrastructure over and above existing projects is a welcome response to New Zealand’s infrastructure pressures. “With our growing population and expanding economy, the burden on our transport infrastructure is becoming acute. The freight task alone is expected to increase by around 70% over the next 25 years,” he adds.

“While the government’s announcement is a substantial allocation of funding, it is no more than is necessary to catch up on our significant infrastructure deficit. The devil will be in the detail of course, but the transport industry looks forward to Budget Day and more information on where the first $4 billion will be spent.”

Mr Shirley describes the government’s $812 million commitment to rebuild State Highway 1 through Kaikoura as “an absolute necessity” for the long-term viability of freight between Picton and Christchurch. “It is pleasing that the commitment extends to work on making the route more resilient,” he adds.