The Warehouse, KiwiRail and Meridian Energy are among 29 organisations sharing a grant of $4.5 million from the Government for low emission transport projects.
Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said it’s the largest round of funding delivered through the Government’s Low Emission’s Vehicles Contestable Fund so far.
The grants will include $4.5 million from the Government, matched by $12 million from the private sector, the minister said on Thursday.
“Smart investments like this are why under this Government the number of electric vehicles on our roads has nearly tripled. In October 2017, we had 5363 registered electric vehicles (EVs) compared to 15,453 now.”
The 29 projects granted funding range from increasing the number of availability of public charging stations to heavy electric truck trials.
The Warehouse, for example, is getting a $257,287 grant to lease four electric trucks for daily home delivery function. The company plans to locate them in Auckland, Christchurch, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu.
Meridian Energy will get $150,000 to install up to 14 electric vehicle charging stations in businesses in Otago and Canterbury, to add to available charging infrastructure.
KiwiRail – which was already given $1 billion in Budget 2019 – will get a $65,000 grant to install six electric vehicle chargers on three Interislander ferries to provide travellers with the ability to charge their electric cars and campervans.
Kiwi Property Holdings will get $211,209 to install at least 43 charging stations at shopping malls including Sylvia Park and Lynn Mall in Auckland and The Base and Centre Place in Hamilton.
ChargeNet NZ, which has built more than 100 charging stations across New Zealand, will receive three separate grants totalling $343,000, and will share a $318,500 grant with Orion NZ to connect South Island coasts to EVs.
Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said transport makes up 19 percent of New Zealand’s emissions, “so this work is critical if we are going to meaningfully act on climate change”.
“These grants are part of a broader work programme to bring emissions down in New Zealand by this Government and we welcome it.”
The full list of approved projects can be viewed here.
The Government’s Low Emission’s Vehicles Contestable Fund has so far committed $20.9 million to 120 projects. That has been matched by $40.7 million in applicant funding.
A further $3.1 million in Government funding is available under the current round. The next round opening in February 2020 will also include support for e-bike storage solutions.
The Government proposed last month an incentive scheme offering discounts of up to $8000 for zero-emission, newly imported vehicles. But imported vehicles that emit heavy emissions would be stung with a fee up to $3000.
National leader Simon Bridges said his petition against the proposed policy has reached 10,000 signatures in just over a week.
All new ships for UK waters ordered from 2025 should be designed with zero-emission capable technologies, in ambitious plans set out by Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani to cut pollution from the country’s maritime sector.
The commitment is set out in the Clean Maritime Plan published today. The government is also looking at ways to incentivise the transition to zero-emission shipping and will consult on this next year.
The plan also includes a £1 million competition to find innovative ways to reduce maritime emissions and is published alongside a call for evidence to reduce emissions on UK waterways and domestic vessels.
The Clean Maritime Plan is part of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, which aims to cut down air pollution across all sectors to protect public health and the environment. It will also help deliver the United Kingdom’s commitment to be net zero on greenhouse gases by 2050.
Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani
Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said:
“Our maritime sector is vital to the success of the UK’s economy, but it must do everything it can to reduce emissions, improve air quality and tackle climate change.
“The Clean Maritime Plan sets an ambitious vision for the sector and opens up exciting opportunities for innovation. It will help make the UK a global hub for new green technologies in the maritime sector.”
The maritime sector has already taken significant strides to reduce emissions – hybrid ferries are already being used in UK waters, including in the Scottish islands and on cross-Solent journeys to the Isle of Wight. The Port of London Authority – where the Maritime Minister launched the Plan today – also uses hybrid vessels.
Sarah Kenny, Chief Executive of BMT Group and representing the Mari-UK consortium, said:
“The Clean Maritime Plan is an important step towards achieving a zero-emission future for the UK. Getting to net zero will not be easy, but it will present significant opportunities as well as the obvious challenges for all parts of our £40bn maritime sector. Maritime is already the greenest way of moving freight, but we can and must do more to reduce emissions.
“The good news is that the UK is well-placed to not only decarbonise our own economy, but also to share our expertise and capability with the rest of the world as they, too, embark on this most global of missions.
“For the first time, companies and universities from across the country have come together to collaborate through MarRI-UK, accelerating the UK’s maritime technological capabilities, particularly on decarbonisation.
“The key ingredient to realising our clean maritime ambitions is collaboration. Between companies, academia and with government. Today’s plan and government’s broader Maritime 2050 strategy, crafted with Maritime UK, provides a framework to do just that.”
Guidance has also today been issued to ports to assist them in developing air quality strategies. This will both address their own operations and support improving air quality across the country.
Tim Morris, chief executive of the UK Major Ports Group and member of the Clean Maritime Council, said:
“The Clean Maritime Plan is a really valuable piece of work, setting out an ambitious path forward for the transformation of the maritime sector in the UK. It doesn’t shy away from the scale or complexity of the challenge of such a transformation. But it’s a transformation that the ports industry, along with the rest of the maritime sector and working in partnership with Government and other stakeholders, is determined to take on.”
A further consultation to increase the uptake of low carbon fuels will also take place next year.
The Clean Maritime Plan is part of the government’s Maritime 2050, a long-term strategy published in January 2019 to keep the UK as a world leader in the maritime sector for decades to come. Source: UK Department of Transport
Today, 90 percent of all goods are transported via cargo ships, making them the top carrier of worldwide trade. In fact, the screen you’re reading this on at this very moment most likely made its way to you by sea.
Despite such ubiquity, the shipping industry produces less than 3 percent of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. But with the global economy estimated to grow by 130 percent between now and 2050, shipping emissions are projected to soar as global trade increases. According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), CO2 emissions could increase anywhere between 50 percent and 250 percent during that time.
CO2 is not the only environmental challenge the industry faces. Shipping also needs to control the amounts of other harmful substances its freight carriers release into the atmosphere, in particular nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides.
To counteract this, shipping companies are seeking alternatives to the heavy fuel oils used by most carriers as well as ways to strip noxious particles from vessels’ exhaust gases.
New approaches with liquified natural gas
One of the most obvious alternatives to heavy fuel oils is liquefied natural gas (LNG). It’s already used as fuel by some 150 ships around the globe, and the numbers are growing, largely due to the near-zero levels of sulfur oxides (SOx) emitted by LNG vessels compared with diesel-powered ships. Sulfur oxides have been linked to both health problems (respiratory disease) and environmental phenomena (acid rain).
To cut its SOx emissions, the shipping industry has introduced restrictions in key shipping routes across the world. So far, the IMO has created four Emission Control Areas, ranging from the Baltic Sea to the coasts of North America, with a sulfur cap of 0.1 percent. The cap also applies throughout the European Union. In 2020 new IMO regulations will come into force mandating the sulfur content of marine fuels in all waters of the world to be less than 0.5 percent.
Ships have two options to reduce sulfur emissions within these limits. First, they can install desulfurization equipment, such as the Large-scale Rectangular Marine Scrubber developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group. It removes SOx from the exhaust gases emitted by marine diesel engines, purifying emissions from inexpensive heavy fuel oil to a level equivalent to more expensive low-sulfur fuels.
The second option is to use fuels with a lower sulfur content, such as LNG. As well as cutting a ship’s SOx emissions, LNG also has lower nitrogen oxide and CO2 emissions, making it a popular choice for shipping companies seeking to reduce their environmental impact.
MHI Group’s Large-scale Rectangular Marine Scrubber. Image: MHI GROUP
However, the growth of LNG as a shipping fuel is limited by a lack of infrastructure for fueling — or “bunkering,” as the LNG fueling process is known. Currently, only a dozen ports around the world offer bunkering, the majority based in Europe.
While more bunkering stations are planned, a major breakthrough occurred in 2017 when the world’s first purpose-built LNG bunkering vessel began operating from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. The ENGIE Zeebrugge carries out ship-to-ship bunkering. Traditionally, LNG-fueled ships have largely depended on fixed bunker locations or the limited bunkering capacity of LNG trailers, but the ENGIE Zeebrugge can service a variety of these ships. This unique vessel is the start of what its operator, Gas4Sea, plans to be an LNG-bunkering fleet.
A return to electricity
Although LNG has advantages over diesel, there are also drawbacks. Not only is LNG dependent on widespread bunkering infrastructure, but it also pollutes more than diesel when it comes to one particular greenhouse gas: methane.
To avoid increasing methane emissions — which are 30 times more potent than CO2 in trapping heat in the atmosphere — some shipping operators are looking to emulate the auto industry’s shift to electric vehicles. Boats, in fact, used electricity before diesel; the Bergen Electric Ferry Company in Norway began operating in 1894. Its last boat with electric propulsion was converted to gasoline in 1926, and later to diesel. In 2015, the company returned to its roots, once again operating an electric ferry, powered by 12 5kWh lithium-ion batteries. The ferry runs all day and charges its batteries at night.
The rapid advances in lithium-ion battery technology, pioneered by the auto industry, have put the spotlight on electricity as a potential fuel source for shipping. However, regular nighttime charging is not an option for shipping liners traveling great distances, and the battery technology does not yet exist that could power these vessels.
One solution, again with a nod to the auto industry, may be hybrid electric vessels. Norwegian shipping company Eidesvik Offshore, which already runs its ships with LNG, successfully retrofitted a battery system in 2017 to its vessel Viking Princess. The ship now runs on a combination of a battery pack for energy storage and three LNG-fueled engines. The batteries are estimated to have cut Viking Princess’ fuel use by nearly a third and its emissions by 18 percent.
Shipping, which early on was powered by the wind and nothing more, has yet to return to its roots as renewably fueled transportation. But buoyed by ingenuity, it’s clearly sailing in the right direction.
The Government is signalling its intention to slash the price of imported electric and hybrid vehicles by up to $8000 in a bid to make greener cars cheaper for Kiwis.
But it is also planning to slap a new fee of up to $3000 on the import of vehicles with the highest greenhouse gas emissions.
The Government has today opened a six-week consultation period before it introduces new legislation in Parliament later this year.
The plan, according to Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter, will get more Kiwis into cleaner vehicles by reducing some of the cost burden.
It would come into force in 2021.
“Most Kiwis want to buy a car that’s good for the environment, but tell us the upfront cost and limited choice makes it a challenge,” she said.
The Government is proposing discounts of up to $8000 for zero-emission new imported vehicles, such as electric vehicles (EVs).
That number would be $6800 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEVs) and $4800 for hybrids.
The level of the discount depends on the total net emissions of the vehicle.
For example, a new Hyundai Ioniq – which has an approximate retail value of just under $60,000 – would cost $52,000 after the full $8000 discount.
A used Mazda Axela, which is one of New Zealand’s most popular imported vehicles, would cost $7200 after an $800 discount.
But a new Land Rover Sports V8 would be slapped with a $3000 high-emissions fee.
A $22,000 Toyota Hiace would cost an extra $1400 after the fee was applied.
Genter said the policy would be cost neutral – meaning the money gained through the fees from higher emitting vehicles would offset the subsidies provided to the lower emission cars.
“This means people will still have choice, while contributing to the task of cleaning up the vehicles coming into New Zealand.”
The policy would only apply to new and used cars being imported into New Zealand, not to vehicles already registered in New Zealand when on-sold.
Some 74 per cent of annual vehicles sales are of vehicles already registered and these would not be affected, Genter said.
According to data from NZ Transport, there are more than 3.2 million petrol cars on New Zealand’s roads. That compares to almost 15,000 electric vehicles in New Zealand.
The Motor Industry Association’s chief executive David Crawford said the Government’s moves were sensible.
Although the industry doesn’t agree with all of the Government’s proposals, it was keen to ensure that it is successful in reducing CO2 emissions from the light vehicle fleet in New Zealand, Crawford said.
“Our view is that the best policies to achieve a reduction in emissions are those that influence purchasing decisions. Changes in models supplied to New Zealand will follow if the demand is altered.”
Greenpeace has welcomed the Government’s move as a “good first step”, but thinks the fee on higher emitting vehicles should be much higher.
“It’s disappointing to see the maximum fee for highly polluting vehicles capped at $3,000. Would this make someone buying a more than $100,000 gas guzzler reconsider?” said Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Amanda Larsson.
“In France, for example, the top penalty is more than three times greater than what the New Zealand Government is proposing.”
The Government is also looking to introduce new clean car standards, which would require vehicle importers to reduce the average emissions by meeting an annual emission target.
Emissions targets would be phased in gradually.
Genter said the economic evaluation shows the benefits of the clean car standard outweigh the costs by a factor of 3 to 1.
“The majority of the economic benefits are to motorists who will save $6800 per vehicle and $3.4 billion collectively over the lifetime of the vehicles affected.”
She said the policy is forecast to reduce emissions by 5.1 million tonnes.
“These policies are about making cleaner vehicles a realistic option for more New Zealand households and businesses.”
The consultation period will run from today through to August 20. Genter said a bill making these policies law will go before the House between September and November.
The move comes after the draft Independent Climate Change Committee’s (ICCC) report into how New Zealand can reach the 100 per cent renewable target, obtained by the Herald, revealed the committee recommended the Government prioritises getting more electric vehicles on the road over reaching 100 per cent renewable energy by 2035.
On the campaign trail, Jacinda Ardern claimed climate change was her generation’s “nuclear-free moment”.
But nearly two years on, her Government has yet to take one of the most obvious steps to cut New Zealand’s emissions.
“Electric vehicles [EVs] can reduce New Zealand’s emissions profile more than nearly anything else,” says Mark Gilbert, chair of lobby group Drive Electric.
“There have been promises made, dates quoted and not met. This is meant to be the delivery year and still nothing.”
The Productivity Commission has said 80 percent of car imports will need to be electric by 2030, and nearly all New Zealand’s fleet by 2050, if we’re to meet our climate targets.
In 2018 just 1.7 percent of imports were electric, and they currently make up just 0.3 percent of our fleet.
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter and Climate Change Minister James Shaw, both from the Green Party, are responsible for developing the Government’s EV strategy. Both spent 2018 promising an EV strategy would be released by September of that year, but now they won’t even say if it will be released in 2019.
When asked by Newshub Nation whether the deadline could be met in months, or even next year, Shaw replied: “I couldn’t tell you.”
So, why the hold-up?
“There are things we could do pretty quickly, but they could have a negative effect on low-income households,” says Shaw.
What Shaw is referring to is a feebate scheme where a levy on petrol and diesel vehicles is used to subsidise electric vehicles.
“You can imagine, for example, a poor Mangere family without great public transport options, quite a long way out of town, really does rely on their petrol vehicle and doesn’t have the money to go electric because the up-front purchase cost is so high,” he says.
“They’re in a position where they’re going to be buying a cheap second-hand car and at the moment their only option is a combustion engine vehicle.
“So we’re mindful that any transition has to be of equal or greater benefit for people who are in those circumstances, as well as urban middle-class families with choices.”
Other countries like Norway use tax incentives to encourage EV uptake. Drive Electric has suggested that adjusting the Fringe Benefit Tax or GST could boost the number of EVs in company fleets.
“Companies roll their fleets every two to three years so these vehicles will quickly end up in the second-hand market, which will make them more accessible,” says Gilbert.
However, the 2019 budget put no money toward encouraging electric car uptake, and with the Productivity Commission’s first target 10 years away, it raises the question of whether New Zealand is in line to miss its targets.
“I think it is achievable,” says Shaw, “but in a non-linear way.”
“The uptake of electric vehicles has actually been exponential and that will steepen over time.”
Some businesses are ploughing ahead regardless: Meridian Energy has already transitioned half of its fleet to electric and will hit 75 percent by July.
“We want to have a fully electrified fleet across all of our sites and assets at the latest by 2030, I think we’ll easily get there by 2025,” says Nick Robilliard, Meridian’s fleet manager.
“The best thing the Government can do is continue working on different incentives.
“Certainly a feebate system and scheme, introduced in a modest way and progressively managed over time I think is a sensible, fiscally responsible sort of way that they could do it.”
Auckland EV owner Russell Baillie is the proud owner of a Nissan Leaf.
“It’s the best car I’ve ever owned,” he says.
The Baillie family has gone all-out to improve its environmental footprint. Their house is incredibly energy-efficient, designed to capture heat during the day and retain it at night, with no heating required during the winter.
It is also powered by solar panels and has its own battery storage and even a green roof.
But it’s the electric car making the biggest difference to the Baillies’ emissions profile, and with the Government dragging its wheels, more people like them are going to have to lead the way.
Shipping containers have been blown into the Bluff harbour as severe weather hits Southland.
A stevedore said several 40ft containers, which were in a stack of five high, had blown over, some falling into the water.
It is believed about 10 were in the water.
The containers were empty and tug boats in the water were out securing them.
“It’s very rare.”
The stevedore expected the containers to eventually sink and then be pulled out by a crane.
South Port chief executive Nigel Gear said the “current situation is that, due to particularly strong winds, some containers have been dislodged from the stack and have landed both in the yard and also into the berth area”.
“The container terminal therefore has been closed down for safety reasons (standard practice) and we are currently working through the process of securing the containers that have fallen into the berth.
“We will continue to monitor the situation, especially the wind conditions, over the next 24 hours.”
Up the road, Invercargill is the windiest place in the country at the moment, being hit by forceful 120kmh westerly wind gusts and persistent rain.
There are power outages throughout the region with some businesses closing early because of no power.
Air New Zealand flights both arriving and departing the city had been delayed.
Severe weather warnings and watches have been issued for severe westerly quarter gales with the Canterbury High Country and coastal Clutha, Southland and Stewart Island most at risk.
Metservice data showed just over 4mm of rain had fallen in Invercargill so far on Wednesday.
Fourteen millimetres of rain was forecast for the day.
Wind watches and warnings are expected to ease on Wednesday night. However, the strong winds were forecast to continue, not dropping below 30kmh until 6pm Thursday.
Metservice forecast 22mm of rain to fall on Thursday as well.
Several places throughout the country recorded gusts over 100kmh on Tuesday.
Stewart Island saw the biggest gust with 148kmh, while Castlepoint saw 119kmh. Both Remutaka Hill near Wellington and Swampy Summit near Dunedin saw gusts of 113kmh.
A road snowfall warning has been issued for the Crown Range Rd and the Milford Rd.
Snow showers are expected to affect higher parts of the Crown Range Rd between midday and 6pm on Thursday, when 1cm or less of snow may settle on the road above 900 metres.
Snow showers were expected to affect the summit of the Milford Road between 10pm on Wednesday and 6am on Thursday, when 1 or 2cm of snow may settle.
Schoolgirl activist Greta Thunberg blasted the UK for “very creative carbon accounting” because it doesn’t count emissions from global flights or shipping.
And New Zealand is also excluding international aviation and navigation (shipping) from its carbon budgets.
Environmental groups say that is breaching the landmark Paris Agreement, signed four years ago.
But Climate Minister James Shaw has defended the practice, arguing the emissions are monitored under two separate international agreements.
Stuff asked the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) for emissions for aviation and shipping. Those units are measured in kilotonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (kt CO2-e).
Those from global flights have risen significantly from 1332.9 kt CO2-e in 1990, to 3702.7 kt CO2-e in 2017, the last available figure.
International navigation has dropped slightly: from 1055.9 kt CO2-e to 916.4 kt CO2-e, across the same period.
And while those numbers are recorded in New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory, they are not reported under its international obligations.
“That’s because the Paris Agreement doesn’t include aviation and shipping,” Shaw says. “They are handled via separate agreements – the aviation one is called Corsia, and the shipping one is Marpol.
“We are also working through those agreements.
“Now, I think Greta Thunberg makes a good point, that for visibility, we ought to get everything all in one place, and I think you can make that case, but we built the zero carbon bill around the Paris agreement, and that is why it is structured that way.”
Shaw is correct: international shipping and aviation were left out of the national targets under the Paris Agreement, because they don’t happen within the boundaries of any specific countries and tracking their emissions through the global supply chain is difficult.
As well as that, a good fuel alternative isn’t yet available.
Instead, under the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement, we submit overall territorial emissions figures to the UN. In New Zealand, the bulk of those emissions come from agriculture (48 per cent) and energy (41 per cent). In 2017, our gross greenhouse gas emissions were 80,853 kt CO2-e.
Shipping produces 2.4 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and aviation yields about two per cent. Both are also projected to rise dramatically by 2050.
Marpol is short for marine pollution – but New Zealand is one of a handful of countries yet to sign up to a sixth part of the agreement, which focuses on reducing shipping fumes.
ELECTRIC AEROPLANES AND ‘DIRTY SLUDGE’
The global economy runs on shipping and air freight. And tourism is New Zealand’s biggest export sector.
Shaw says flag carrier airline Air New Zealand, with majority government ownership, is trying to drive down emissions while expanding the business.
“I’m actually pretty pleased with the leadership that Air NZ is showing on aviation emissions… [chief executive] Chris Luxon reckons that we will have electric aeroplanes, at least for our regional routes, at least within 10 years or so.
“Obviously the big one is international and it will take a lot longer for the technology to develop there.
“But they have got a significant off-setting programme…it’s not ideal, but the next best thing you can do is off-set and I would encourage people to off-set if their work involves travel.”
Under the UN Paris pact, Air New Zealand must report its domestic flight emissions to the Government. But other countries – like China – haven’t signed up to those obligations.
“The truth is that we have a lot of airlines in parts of the world which are expanding rapidly, they are very low cost, they are leasing in, or buying, second-hand planes from the leading airlines [which] are much less fuel efficient. So, for all the good work that is happening with some airlines, unfortunately you are seeing much more expansion on the other side. It is an area of real concern.”
Shaw is less effusive about shipping.
“Ships tend to use the lowest quality, highest emissions fuels. Bunker oil, which is basically dirty sludge. There is a lot of work to be done there.”
“There are some things we can do here in New Zealand – with the ferries, some of our coastal fleets, and fishing, but that is pretty small fry when you compare it to the freight routes.
“We can supply ships with cleaner fuel here in New Zealand. The question is: are the ships able to swap fuel types? That is why international co-operation is so important.
“We have to make sure those fuels are available in every port …And that we are putting pressure on the shipping lines to swap out the dirty old technologies for much cleaner alternatives.”
HYPOCRITICAL AND UNJUST
Amanda Larsson, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace, agrees we are cheating on our emissions reporting.
“And it is predominantly wealthy countries where people have the resources to be able to do international travel that aren’t accounting for those emissions,” she said.
“Developing countries are already bearing the brunt of the climate impact of our warming world and carbon industries, like poor air quality and health effects.
“The fact that wealthier countries, like New Zealand and the UK, with a high proportion of carbon emissions can say ‘we are reducing our emissions aren’t we great,’ while offloading a lot of those emissions onto developing countries or not accounting for them all as in the case of aviation is an injustice, and a bit hypocritical.”
Larsson says New Zealand should be one of the strongest voices for the decarbonisation of global aviation. That would include counting emissions from tourism and flights arriving here. She’d also like to see a levy on international tourism, that is ring-fenced to invest in carbon-lowering activities.
“We are country that is reliant on international tourism and has a culture of travelling overseas…we can’t have sustainable tourism in New Zealand if it’s growth is fuelled by aeroplanes that are powered by fossil fuels.”
We are also ‘outsourcing’ a chunk of other emissions. Around 22 per cent of global CO2 emissions stem from the production of consumer goods that are exported to a different country, according to a 2012 study.
“It effectively means effectively means that we in New Zealand are offloading those emissions from our consumption on countries like China, or wherever those products are produced,” Larsson said.
“People often complain that New Zealand is too small to have an impact on the climate and what really needs to happen is for China to act. That is actually ignoring the critical point that we are driving the production of a lot of these products in China and driving up China’s emissions from the consumption of products [and] then we don’t account for them.”
In April, the European Transport & Environment non-governmental organisation agreed with Thunberg’s stance – and said they believe it is a breach of the Paris Agreement.
Aviation manager Andrew Murphy told the Guardian: “We believe the Paris agreement is clear that international aviation and shipping should be included in national climate targets. Paris calls for a bottom-up approach so individual states can include what they want in their budgets. We don’t see this outsourcing of responsibility by governments for international aviation and shipping as consistent with Paris. It breaches the agreement.”
The UK claims its greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 42 per cent since 1990. Thunberg claimed the true reduction was about 10 per cent.
Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and shipping and marine supplier Nippon Yuka Kogyo, a NYK Group company, have jointly developed a new fuel oil additive for low-sulfur compliant fuel-oil that meets SOx emission requirements.
Yunic 800VLS — patent pending — is Japan’s first additive for very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO), NYK said.
The additive is said to improve safety by helping to avoid troubles that may be caused by certain contents of VLSFO, according to the company.
A global sulfur cap will enter into force on January 1, 2020, and one way ships can meet the requirement is by using VLSFO – a fuel oil with a sulfur content below 0.5%. However, a wide variety of VLSFO is expected to be supplied because the manufacturing process differs from conventional heavy fuel oil, which has a sulfur content of up to 3.5%.
NYK and Nippon Yuka Kogyo thus began examining VLSFO at an early stage and have developed an additive that will lessen the likelihood of the VLSFO causing engine problems.
Specifically, Yunic 800VLS disperses asphaltene and paraffin (wax) specific within VLSFOs to suppress sludge formation.
The effect of Yunic 800VLS has been certified by ClassNK.
“The NYK Group seeks to be compliant with the 2020 SOx cap and enrich safe operations by introducing this new fuel-oil additive for VLSFO,” NYK said in a statement.
NYK in biofuel research and testing
Separately, NYK Line and Japan Engine Corporation (J-ENG) revealed they would start the research and development of biofuel using a test engine as one of the solutions for decarbonization.
Considered to be a carbon-neutral fuel, biofuel is a fuel derived from organic substance or biomass.
Biofuel has been attracting attention as an alternative fuel as one of the promising renewable energy toward decarbonization and one of the solutions against the energy crisis due to the depletion of natural resources such as fossil fuel.
In addition, since biofuel emits almost no sulfur oxides (SOx) in combustion, its use as a marine fuel is expected to be expanded.
In collaboration with NYK Line, J-ENG plans to carry out the engine test using the biofuel from GoodFuels, a biofuel supplier based in the Netherlands.
An inland port in west Auckland and a vehicle importing and servicing centre at Northport are among a dozen potential transport investments a working group is considering to improve freight handling in the upper North Island.
The group, formed last year, has spent the past eight months talking with users and imagining how the existing ports at Auckland, Marsden Point and Tauranga – and the road and rail links between them – could be reconfigured to provide the best options for long-term growth.
It plans to report back to the government in June with options and complete more detailed costings and recommendations in September.
“There are a large number of infrastructure options that may have a part or full place to play in changes to the upper North Island supply chain which will be considered,” chair Wayne Brown says in a progress report filed with Cabinet’s Economic Development Committee earlier this month.
“For example, in evaluating one of our options that involves moving some of Ports of Auckland’s freight task to Northport, we will consider potential infrastructure that may be required to support this,” the group says.
They include: “a spur to Northport, which we understand the current government is investigating; upgrades to the existing North Auckland Line; potential short-term operational changes, such as moving freight through Auckland on the commuter network at night; potential long-term new infrastructure requirements such as a new rail line out west of Auckland to avoid congestion in the Auckland public transport rail network and connect through to the current inland freight terminals; and the potential establishment of new inland freight terminals.”
The Upper North Island Supply Chain study was the result of a pre-election pledge by NZ First to move container operation from Ports of Auckland to Northport by 2027.
While there is broad consensus that Auckland’s port will be increasingly constrained by the city’s development around it, there is no agreement as to how soon change is needed, how much freight could be redirected through Tauranga or Northport, and how that would be achieved.
As recently as 2016 a study group recommended work start assessing Manukau Harbour or the Firth of Thames as long-term replacement options for Auckland. Last August, Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said there wasn’t yet sufficient freight volume in Northland to warrant the relocation north. Port of Tauranga owns half of Northport.
Auckland and Tauranga are the country’s two largest container ports. With Northport, they handle about half the country’s exports and two-thirds of its import volumes.
Tauranga and Auckland, controlled by Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Auckland Council respectively, compete for freight. They considered a merger in 2006 but talks collapsed the following year. Ports of Auckland has a 20 percent stake in Northland Regional Council-controlled Marsden Maritime Holdings, Tauranga’s partner in Northport.
The working group noted submitters’ views that the “interwoven” nature of the three ports’ ownership had prevented them being developed in New Zealand’s best interests and had resulted in some inefficiencies and “duplication” of resources.
“We will be considering the current ownership structure of ports and whether a change may be needed to ensure interests are aligned to deliver the best outcome for New Zealand,” the group says.
“Councils were somewhat open to a change in port ownership as long as they preserved their income and value of the port to their community.”
Ports are long-term businesses. The working group is canvassing issues in 10-, 25- and 50-year timeframes.
Scope is also important. Freight operators argue Northport, west of the Marsden Point oil refinery, could meet growth on Auckland’s North Shore, rather than replacing Ports of Auckland entirely.
Short-term options could include establishing a distribution centre at Silverdale or Orewa; imports and Northland products could be trucked there overnight – avoiding congestion on SH1 – for day-time delivery into Auckland.
Northport already plays a similar role. Structural components for some major Auckland building projects are stored there for just-in-time delivery to avoid congestion in the CBD.
Car imports have already been identified as a potential early change. Ten hectares of new space at Northport could provide storage for 10,000 cars. Auckland currently receives about 300,000 cars annually, each of which spends close to three days on its wharves.
Northport started operating in 2002 and is largely a blank canvas. Its 49-hectare footprint can be expanded to 75 ha, while its berth length can be more than doubled to 1,390 metres. The port lies next to 180 ha of commercial and industrial land controlled by shareholder Marsden Maritime.
But it has limited capital for development and no rail link. KiwiRail and the Ministry of Transport are investigating a $200 million, 20-kilometre spur line, but that is probably more than six years away even if there was a prompt decision to proceed.
The existing line from Swanson to Fonterra’s Kauri dairy plant north of Whangarei also needs upgrading at a cost of another $500 million to carry larger and heavier container traffic. KiwiRail has previously estimated the total bill – including upgrading rail capacity from South Auckland – at about $2 billion.
The working group noted its “fundamental” belief that there is “no point making further investment in Northport without investment in, and development of, the train line to Auckland.”
Moving some or all of Auckland’s port out of the city and revitalising Northland’s port including building a rail line between the two are some of the options canvassed in a new report.
However, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has warned against the potential loss of income from Ports of Auckland if it were moved or downsized, saying if the annual $50 million dividend was lost it could lead to a 4 per cent rate rise.
The first of three progress reports by a working group tasked with investigating New Zealand’s upper North Island supply chain strategy outlines key information about the country’s three main ports: Ports of Auckland on the city’s waterfront, Northport at Marsden Point near Whāngārei and Port of Tauranga.
The ports are critical to New Zealand’s freight task and together account for half of the country’s total export volume and two-thirds of its import volume, in tonnes.
Port of Tauranga handled the highest volume of all New Zealand ports (in tonnes) and was the most successful of the three upper North Island ports having capitalised on rail infrastructure provided to the Bay of Plenty region by the Government.
“We will therefore be considering whether similar investment in Northland would provide similar results for the region and Northport,” the working group said.
The report, released by Associate Minister of Transport Shane Jones, noted that overall imports are expected to increase across all upper North Island regions while exports will increase initially before declining at Northport and Port of Tauranga, largely because of projected decline in log exports.
However, it said roading and rail in the Northland region was so lacking that the working group “fundamentally believe there is no point making further investment in Northport without investment and development of the train line to Auckland”.
“… it is generally agreed that the lack of rail infrastructure and connectivity to Northport has hindered Northland’s economic development.”
Ports of Auckland occupied 77ha of Auckland waterfront with a book value of $735m, though this was thought to be well below valuation of comparable industrial land.
“This excludes the massive social, cultural, environmental and economic value that would be created by transforming this property into a globally iconic waterfront,” the working group said.
Stakeholders including the ports, shareholders and the road freight and shipping industries named several issues surrounding the current port system including:
• They are competing and not co-operating;
• Lack of rail infrastructure and port connectivity had been a brake on Northland’s economic development;
• Unanimous support for a fully functioning rail system to the ports;
• Concerns over duplication of port and inland port assets;
• Congestion was the main problem for freight operators.
Options to make the three ports work better included the Northland to Auckland rail spur, a second route between Auckland and Tauranga, a freight corridor through West Auckland, a West Auckland inland port, an expanded or moved Southdown inland port, a new mega port in the Firth of Thames, a vehicle servicing and import facility at Northport and a New Zealand dry dock.
Goff welcomed the report but said it did not present an analysis of options, the business case for each and the impact of each option on Auckland, the region and the country.
“The relocation of the Port out of Auckland’s city centre has some clear advantages.
“It would ultimately open up 77 hectares of central city and harbourside land and wharves for alternative and potentially more valuable uses.
“As in other international cities, it could enhance the attractiveness of Auckland as a place to live, work, enjoy and to visit. It would also reduce congestion caused by freight movement and pollution from associated activities.”
However, he said as a city of 1.7 million people making up 35 per cent of New Zealand’s population, Auckland needed to have the most cost-effective and efficient way of delivering goods and services to its people.
“Vital to the decision of moving Auckland’s port is the impact of each alternative location on Auckland consumers and businesses.”
Aucklanders needed to know whether and how much alternative port sites added to costs for the city, Goff said.
“We also need to ensure that the working group on the supply chain strategy considers the value of the investment Aucklanders have made in their port and the dividend return they get from it which in past years has been $50 million – equivalent to a 3 to 4 per cent rate increase if that dividend is lost.”
Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said the progress report identified well-known issues such as the need for increased investment in road and rail networks and the historic financial under-performance and inconsistent reporting by some ports.
He said Port of Tauranga challenged some of the “facts, assumptions and implications” in the interim report, and were hopeful they will be addressed before the next report.
“For example, the report states that the Bay of Plenty and Waikato have benefitted from rail infrastructure and investment provided by the Government at no capital cost to the end user.
“This ignores the $267 million in rail costs paid by Port of Tauranga since 2010.”
National’s Transport spokesman Paul Goldsmith claimed the interim report showed a “thinly disguised preference for massive investment in rail between South Auckland and Northport, leading to a shift of activity away from the Ports of Auckland to Northport”.
“It also seems to be peddling the concept of a nationalised ports monopoly in the upper North Island. There is no evidence or analysis to back up the suggestion that such a nationalised monopoly would be more efficient than current arrangements.
“There is no evidence to suggest the billions it would cost to upgrade rail from Auckland to Whangarei, plus building a new spur to Marsden point and a new freight line across Auckland, would be the best use of scarce transport resources and would lead to a better outcome for exporters or consumers.”
Goldsmith said the Government was “quite right” to be inquiring into the efficiency of freight movements across the NOrth Island and planning for the long term future.
“We support careful and considered planning of future investment. Which is why National has supported the Government’s planned Infrastructure Commission to advise on such things. The direction of this report, however, undermines the Infrastructure Commission approach.”
A second report outlining advantages to changing from the status quo, international comparisons and a long-term view will be presented to Cabinet in June.
The final report with recommendations for future development and strategy will be presented to Cabinet in September.
Upper North Island ports by the numbers
• Exported 3.25 million revenue tonnes in one year, mostly logs as well as kiwifruit, steel and woodchip;
• Imported considerably lower amount of 311,000 tonnes to June 2018.
Port of Tauranga
• Accounted for 43 per cent of New Zealand’s total export volume in year to June 2018;
• 55 per cent of exports are wood and paper products, majority of which are logs.
Ports of Auckland
• Second largest container port after Tauranga, Ports of Auckland is significant for imports because of the population it serves – 35 per cent of New Zealand’s population.
• Largest importer of vehicles. In year to June 2018, Ports of Auckland handled almost 300,000 cars, a 43 per cent increase from 2014.
• Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga have an import-export imbalance – Auckland has higher imports and Tauranga higher exports. It means about 40 per cent of 20-foot containers stand empty.