KiwiRail wants its ferry terminal in the central city, without its competitor

September 3, 2020 – Report from RNZ by Catherine Hutton


Plans to build a multi-use ferry terminal in Wellington are in jeopardy, following KiwiRail’s insistence it wants to move into the central city beside rival Bluebridge, but won’t share facilities with them.

An estimated billion-dollar investment for new wharves in both Wellington and Picton is needed to allow KiwiRail to switch its Interislander operation to two new larger rail ferries by 2024.

Two years ago, the Future Ports Forum, comprising representatives from the Wellington Regional Council, the Wellington City Council, Centreport, the Transport Agency, KiwiRail, and Bluebridge was set up to look at where to best situate the capital’s new Cook Strait ferry terminal.

It was agreed the new site would be shared by the Interislander, which KiwiRail owns, and rival Bluebridge.

The latest report from interested stakeholders, released in April, recommended Kaiwharawhara where the Interislander ferries currently dock.

Regional Council (GWRC) chairperson Daran Ponter said KiwiRail left the forum before the final report was released because they did not agree with the location.

“Because they were on the working group they had an understanding of where that report was going to land in terms of its recommendation, they clearly didn’t agree with Kaiwharawhara as the preferred recommendation and they pulled out in advance. Not helpful, but it’s an interesting way of doing business.”

KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller denied leaving the forum, and said releasing the report did not make sense.

“What you are talking about is, ‘did we agree in the forum?’ and the fact is we didn’t agree in the forum, so we’d said no we don’t think that’s the best outcome and we made that very clear,” Miller said.

“Then you’d have to ask yourself, what was the benefit of the Future Ports Forum that couldn’t agree, when the two customers – Bluebridge and KiwiRail – couldn’t agree with the provider, that’s more the point.”

tructural engineers say the Kaiwharawhara site can be built to cope with earthquakes but geotech scientists are less sure.

Miller said it was the geotech report that made KiwiRail stop and think.

“Is this the best location on the port to put new ferries and a new terminal that is rail served? There’s also the motorway upgrade and the location on the port for future transport, which has always been a challenge at Kaiwharawhara, with road and rail location and for the passengers arriving from overseas and domestically, getting access to the Kaiwharawhara site,” he said.

Estimates for building new ferry terminals in both Picton and Wellington are vague – ranging somewhere between half a billion and a billion dollars.

Miller said the huge costs of having to remediate the site could not be ignored. “You can engineer your way out of many things, but what we’re told by the engineers is that the cost of mitigation is extremely high, so there is a cost component to this that you cannot ignore.”

KiwiRail prefers its new terminal to be at Kings Wharf, beside Bluebridge’s existing spot, and closer to downtown Wellington.

But GWRC chairperson Daran Ponter said while KiwiRail had zeroed in on the seismic issues at Kaiwharawhara, Kings Wharf also had problems.

Ponter said the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake showed how fragile the port was. The port received more than $600 million – the second biggest insurance payout in New Zealand’s history – for the damage suffered in that quake.

“Kings Wharf sits midway between the container terminal and the new BNZ centre, both of which were taken out in the November 2016 Kaikōura earthquake. So it would appear wherever you locate yourself around the Centreport site, you are potentially still open to being challenged by an earthquake.”

And documents suggest the lengths KiwiRail is prepared to go to get the site. An email seen by RNZ from their group general counsel, Jonathan Earl, to KiwRail managers in May raised the possibility of using the Public Works Act to secure it.

Ponter said that would be unprecedented and would effectively mean seizing land from regional ratepayers.

“Clearly KiwiRail are an acquiring authority under the Public Works Act, but Centreport itself is a public works. Because you can’t just use the Public Works Act because you like an option more than you like another. You’ve got to give good grounds for the option or for your preference.”

Miller denied that was an option they were pursuing.

“Well the Public Works Act is there to be used to acquire if we need to, and as I said to you we haven’t put in any time, effort into that because I do believe the relationship commercially long term is better to be resolved that way and that’s the way we’re going.”

Centreport is now preparing a third assessment report for a new site, but Miller said he was not keen to share a facility with Bluebridge at Kings Wharf because KiwiRail needed a single-use terminal.

“We needed a rail link span. We have far greater volumes of trucks and cars and passengers that we move, so we probably needed a greater area and how do you divvy up the cost in a single user terminal for that with a competitor?”

Ponter said regardless of KiwiRail’s preferences, ultimately the port company had to accommodate both operators.

In a statement, Bluebridge said it was aware of KiwiRail’s recent proposal to build another wharf adjacent to its site at Kings Wharf, and had provided feedback.

The report is due in the next two months.

In June, the State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters told regional councils he wanted the forum to reconvene and find a solution.

Ports of Auckland tragedy: Maritime New Zealand leading investigation into worker’s death

Maritime NZ is heading an investigation into the death of a worker at the Ports of Auckland in the early hours of yesterday morning. Photo / Michael Craig
Maritime NZ is heading an investigation into the death of a worker at the Ports of Auckland Photo / Michael Craig

NZ Herald 31/8/20

Maritime authorities are now leading the investigation into the death of a worker at the Ports of Auckland over the weekend.

Emergency services were called to the Fergusson Container Terminal, in Parnell, about 2am yesterday.

WorkSafe was notified of the death, but has since released a statement saying Maritime New Zealand will be leading the investigation into the incident.

A spokesman for Maritime NZ confirmed it was looking after the investigation. Police are also involved.

The investigation comes as a workers’ union vows to fight for the health and safety of all people in the workplace – no matter what line of work they do.

First Union NZ took to social media site Twitter to express their views as well as pay tribute to yesterday’s victim.

“Everyone should be able to return home at the end of their shift, whatever work they do,” a post said today.

“Solidarity to the friends, whānau and workmates of the Ports of Auckland worker.

“Unions will continue to relentlessly champion health and safety in the workplace.”

Concern for merchant sailors stranded in NZ waters

An estimated 300,000 crew on merchant ships have been left stranded at sea around the world by the coronavirus pandemic unable to go onshore – including thousands in New Zealand waters – in what advocates say it’s a ‘humanitarian crisis’.  Crew members from the cruise ship Ruby Princess wave as they depart from Port Kembla, some 80 kilometres south of Sydney, on April 23, 2020, after a few hundred virus-free crew members disembarked to begin the process of repatriation to their home countries. -

Crew on board a cruise ship in May (file photo)

Listen

The Ministry of Transport has now allocated $295,000 to help those stuck in New Zealand ports through the Mission to Seafarers’ organisation. Wellington-based chaplain Reverend Lance Lukin is the Oceania Regional Director for the organisation, he talked to Kim Hill on RNZ’s Saturday Morning about the situation.

Lukin says seafarers are one of the most vulnerable and isolated groups in our society.

“There’s thousands of ships coming in and out of New Zealand ports a year. There’s about 1.5 million seafarers at work at any one time in the world.

“And typically for the lower paid – the able bodied seafarer their contracts are around 9 months long. So at the end of that nine months they will be crew changed in and out. So in any month one twelfth of that 1.5 million seafarers are going through crew changes.”

Those at sea now don’t know when they will be able to get home.

He says the International Transportation Federation has called on all seafarers to go on strike at the end of their contracts if they’re not given shore leave and a crew change.

“If that happens, New Zealand’s economy stops overnight – 120 billion of export comes by ship, 99 percent of trade comes by ship.”

Lukin says seafarer centres operate at each port, manned by volunteers – many who are retirees. The money from the Ministry of Transport will be used to employ more workers so fewer volunteers are needed.

“In this time of pandemic we want to limit the number of people who have acess to ships, but we want to continue to provide that much-needed welfare and support.”

He says many sailors are from China, Philippines and India. But both the Philippines and India have tightened border rules, making it harder for crews from those countries to get home.

[They’re] “desperately wanting to go home, desperately wanting to communicate with their families. We had a ship come into Wellington last week with 18 crew on, 12 of whom are 5 months over the expiration of their contract.

“They should be being paid, but we know globally non-payment of wages is one of the key concerns of seafarers.

“And we’re talking about a pretty low paid workforce anyway. The minimum wage in New Zealand is $18 an hour, for a Filipino sailor the average wage is 90 cents an hour – it’s incredibly dangerous, isolated, high risk environment at the best of times – let alone adding in a pandemic.”No caption

Port of Wellington (file photo). Photo: Mission to Seafarers

Many are still working, but can no longer go ashore.

“There’s about 40 or 50 thousand crew trapped on cruise ships off the coast of the US, and in parts of Indonesia and the Philippines, that can’t get off the ships, won’t be allowed to get off the ships.”

In New Zealand, crews who have been symptom-free for 28 days can go into 14 days of managed isolation if they want to go onshore.

“Given the fact that a ship will enter to the Port of Welllington here today, it will be in port for 8 hours, and it will not be in NZ territorial waters for 14 days – so the likelihood of a seafarer actually being able to get off is next to impossible.

“The reality is apart from the cruise ships right at the beginning and there are no cruise ships now – not one case of Covid has come on a container ship or a logging ship, so we don’t want them to come across our borders and bring Covid – but the reality is they don’t want to come across our borders typically because they don’t want to catch Covid, because they’re going to then get back on that ship and spend 28 days going back to China with no medical facilities on board.”

Most countries test seafarers for Covid-19 when they arrive the border. New Zealand does not, but the Mission to Seafarers is pushing to have it introduced.

Lukin says it could mean seafarers calling at multiple ports would get their results from the test while they still had the opportunity to go onshore.  

“I talked to a seafarer here in Wellington last week who has not physically touched ground for 183 days – you’ve got to think of the mental health implications of that. We know at the best of times that working at sea is a highly risky environment, and the mental health implications are huge. This is a low paid workforce who have limited resources available on board ships.

“Most ships don’t have gyms or recreational facilities, you’re on board for 9 months, and when you come into a port all you want to do is get off, get some fresh air, and most importantly you want to get access to some wifi so you can Facetime and chat with your family back home who you haven’t seen in 9 months – [wifi] is not available on board ships.”Port of Tauranga.

The Port of Tauranga. Photo: Supplied / Port of Tauranga

The Seafarer Centres provid free wifi, and while they’re closed during the Covid pandemic, the organisations’ workers are donning full Protective Personal Equipment and taking portable wifi units onto the ships.

“So that at least for that eight hour period [while they’re in port] seafarers can hotspot and talk to their families.”
 
Lukin says while self-harm and suicide statistics are hard to monitor, there’s anecdotal indications these have increased during the pandemic.

“The best outcome really is that New Zealand honours its obligations under the Maritime Labour Convention – the international bill of rights of seafarers – that they have shore leave, that they have access to welfare facilities that are funded and have competent staff to provide the mental health needs they have right now.

“That’s the basic things they want – firstly to have wifi access, and then they want to be able to talk about all the stuff that’s going on in their own lives that they can’t talk to the shipping agent about – because that’s their employer; they can’t talk to the captain about, because he’s their boss on board; they won’t talk to the government authorities about, because they come from countries where governments are feared, so they want to talk to someone independent – which is why we exist.”

Firth of Thames best home for a new port for 100-plus years: Auckland Business Chamber (and Cubic agrees)

The suggestion of the Firth of Thames is a
The suggestion of the Firth of Thames is a “brave, big call”. Photo/ Google

By: Andrea Fox Herald business writer andrea.fox@nzme.co.nz

Just when you thought not another report could be wrung out of Auckland’s port future debate, the Auckland Business Chamber is urging all Kiwis to completely “re-imagine” a port for 100-150 years – and it’s pick is in the Firth of Thames.

After staying pretty quiet during a flurry of reports over shifting the Auckland port, the chamber is launching its own take, “A Port for the Future”, which invites the community to use an accepted timeline that the existing port will do for another 25 or so years, to carefully plan another to last more than another century.

And for port observers feeling reported-out, Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett assures “this is not another report”.

“It is an effort by the chamber to get people to re-imagine where a port might be and what would be the best for New Zealand and New Zealand business – not a competition between Auckland and North or Tauranga but an informed discussion of what could be.”

Barnett said the chamber represents the voice of Auckland business without bias, and in this neutral position has stepped back to analyse all the discussion around the relocation of the port from Waitemata Harbour.

“The chamber … now realises that the issue is not just an Auckland problem, but is one that, if done correctly, will bring benefits right across New Zealand.”

The chamber had concluded the existing port was fully sustainable for another 25 to 30 years and that a solution is required beyond that. To provide a port solution beyond the generation after next required vision and a willingness to go beyond the familiar.

Ports of Auckland has 25-30 years of life left in it, says Auckland Business Chamber. Photo / Michael Craig
Ports of Auckland has 25-30 years of life left in it, says Auckland Business Chamber. Photo / Michael Craig

The chamber’s offering makes a case for a man-made island ship exchange terminal in the Firth of Thames, connected by broad gauge rail to a container terminal facility in the vicinity of Pokeno/Meremere.

The island terminal would be “a whole-of-New Zealand” terminal servicing large foreign trade ships handling all import and export containers. The report does not discuss costs but points to several overseas examples to underline there is nothing in the paper that is not tried and proven elsewhere in the world.

“What is running out (for the existing port) is social licence and that’s what’s motivating us to try to accelerate the debate and re-imagine what a port could look like”, Barnett told the Herald.

“What’s been uncomfortable has been the apparent political nature of the discussion so far, it tends to have been personality-driven from the north – almost an anti-Auckland thing. Yet this isn’t about either of those things, it’s about a nation down in the South Pacific dependent on its ability to import and export.

“We need something for the next 100 years and the people of New Zealand should make that choice. It’s not up to a politician or a government.

“(So far) we have re-imagined the port simply by saying ‘let’s pick up Auckland port and take it north (to Northport)’. I’m saying we can do it another way.”

The chamber will widely distribute its paper within the freight, transport and shipping sector and invite comment and discussion directly to the chamber.

The chamber’s analysis concluded there would always be a need for a port in Auckland – “just not as we know it”.

Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett.
Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett.

Social licence issues arising at New Zealand ports were “but the tip of the iceberg and demonstrate that the focus being purely on relocation of the Port of Auckland is extremely narrow and has the potential to lead to a flawed conclusion”, said the paper.

“Ports of Auckland is clearly approaching a sunset phase, however, it is the chamber’s view that the present facility will be capable of handling existing throughput plus growth for several years to come … (but) it is inevitable and acknowledged by the chamber, that the port’s container facilities will be shifted from the present location to another site.”

The paper said volume growth and investment required at the Port of Tauranga, along with “other issues starting to emerge” made it “pretty safe to assume that the Tauranga terminal will also be looking for a new location in future”. In four weeks the Tauranga port handled as many containers as Wellington’s port in a year.

Current modelling showed that with the construction of the future city of Drury South, the Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga triangle would encompass four of New Zealand’s six largest cities.

Over the next 30 years the population in the area between greater Auckland and Taupo was forecast to grow by 7.8 per cent a year. During this time the rest of New Zealand’s population was predicted to grow by 2 per cent a year and by 3.6 per cent north of Auckland.

The option of developing a new port at Manukau Harbour raised in earlier reports was indeed an option when considered just in the context of Auckland, the paper said.

“However it is not compatible with the chamber’s objective of providing a future solution that will benefit NZ Inc. Throughout … the chamber has avoided introducing untested or yet to be implemented technology as will be required to overcome the hazardous conditions presented by the Manukau Harbour entrance.”

The Firth of Thames had been looked at in studies over the past 25 years.

“Unfortunately the concept appears to be too far out of the mainstream for people to understand, especially as it has only been viewed as a solution solely for Auckland and suggest constructions methods based on the traditional.”

The paper details modern construction methods used overseas.

Barnett concedes the chamber’s suggestion of the Firth of Thames is a “brave, big call” given the environmental, wildlife and iwi concerns that are likely to be raised against it.

But with time on New Zealand’s side for consultation, research, innovation and planning, problems could be properly addressed and hopefully overcome.

Barnett, a veteran of port group discussions over the years, worked with ports consultant Tony Boyle to produce the paper. The project cost did not exceed $10,000, he said.

“But I like to think it is rich in intention.”

Disabled Bulker Towed to Dock in Tauranga

disabled bulker towed to the dock in New Zealand
Funing under tow – courtesy Maritime New Zealand

The Singapore-flagged bulker Funing has been brought safely alongside at the Port of Tauranga on the north island of New Zealand. The vessel experienced a power failure while in the main shipping channel and for a time threatened navigation to New Zealand’s largest port.

The 40,000 DWT bulk carrier was departing New Zealand bound for China with a load of timber on July 6 when it lost engine power at approximately 12:30 am local time while in the main shipping channel. There was a pilot aboard at the time but Maritime New Zealand reported that the weather conditions were considered poor with a 30 knot wind and significant swell.

After losing power the Funing was unable to steer and began drifting due to the high winds and tides in the area. The vessel snagged the chains holding one of the buoys marking the shipping channel. The tides and currents then pushed the Funing across the channel before the ship was able to anchor and hold position.

At the time of the incident, there were 20 crew members aboard. None of the crew was injured and Maritime New Zealand said that there were no reports of oil or other pollution from the vessel.

Funing disabled at anchorage – courtesy Maritime New Zealand

New Zealand dispatched two tugs to the vessel’s assistance and they were later able to tow the Funing to deeper water and a safe anchorage. An inspection of the propeller and rudder was conducted by divers because it was believed that the vessel had made contact with a marker buoy at the harbor entrance. 

After having remained at anchorage for the past week, the offshore tug Pacific Runner arrived in Tauranga to assist the Funing. They completed a towage trial this morning and later in the day towed the vessel to the dock in Tauranga

A further investigation of the incident will be conducted. Repairs are also commencing and expected to last up to 14 days before the Funing can resume its voyage to China.

MSC Continues To Invest In Decarbonising Shipping

in International Shipping News 08/07/2020

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, a global leader in shipping and logistics, is heavily investing in its fleet and low-carbon technology to support the industry’s transition towards zero carbon future.

Shipping can be accurately described as the most environmentally sustainable form of cargo mass transportation. Nonetheless, MSC is acutely aware that international shipping has an impact on the climate and our decision to invest in low-carbon technology is complementary to the company’s broader strategic approach to sustainability. The company operates a modern fleet and is running the biggest fleet investment programme in the industry to further reduce emissions.

MSC fully supports the IMO’s policy goals to decarbonise shipping and is actively exploring and trialling a range of alternative fuels and technologies – pioneering large scale usage of up to 30% biofuel blends for container ships, for example – on top of some significant energy efficiency improvements across its fleet.

Around 90% of the world’s trade is transported by sea. To meet the market demand while minimising emissions, MSC was the first shipping company to deploy 23K+ TEU, ultra-efficient vessels on some of the world’s busiest trade lanes (incl. the Mediterranean). In 2019, MSC set a new standard for sustainable container shipping, by introducing the MSC Gülsün with one of the lowest carbon footprints by design, at 7.49 grams of CO2 emissions to move 1 ton of cargo 1 nautical mile.

In addition, to help bridge the gap between shipping today and the zero-carbon future, MSC was the first major shipping line in 2019 to offer clients an option to fully compensate the remaining currently unavoidable carbon emissions caused by the transport of their cargo through participating in MSC’s Carbon Neutral Programme.

Inaccurate analysis of CO2 emissions from shipping

In addition to our massive investment in reducing emissions, MSC fully supports reporting CO2 emissions transparently and precisely in the European Union (EU) Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system, as mandated by EU legislation. As said in an earlier statement in December, it is vital that the raw data reported in the system are analysed accurately and take operational realities fully into account, to give a realistic picture of the related emissions.

Another recent analysis by Transport & Environment on shipping emissions in the EU, fails yet again to take a number of operational aspects of MSC’s services fully into account, and thus does not offer a complete assessment of our role and impact in terms of emissions. Nor does it support a constructive dialogue around decarbonising shipping.

To provide a comprehensive and accurate conclusion, CO2 emissions should be compared on an equal basis. An analysis focusing on shipping emissions in the EU should only take into account emissions which actually occurred in the geographical area of the EU, if it is going to be compared to other sources limited to the same area. This is particularly relevant for a global company such as MSC, which operates in all the world’s major shipping lanes. A complete analysis would show that only 40-45% of the emissions reported by MSC in the MRV were actually in the EU. In addition, a correct analysis would also show that MSC has achieved 2.5% YOY reduction in absolute emissions under the MRV scheme in a single year.

Further to the company’s own efforts to minimise environmental impact, MSC contributes to the work of industry groups and associations to accelerate decarbonising the shipping industry.
Source: MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA

Manukau Harbour ‘wouldn’t work’ as new Auckland port

Manukau Harbour would never work as a new location for Auckland’s port, transport company director Chris Carr says.Manukau Harbour

Manukau Harbour. Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

A report by economic consultancy Sapere published yesterday ranked Manukau Harbour as the best option. It considered Northport, Manukau, the Firth of Thames, the Port of Tauranga and a shared increase in capacity at both Northport and the Port of Tauranga.

An earlier report, backed by New Zealand First, identified Northport at Marsden Point as the best option. The report was completed by a government working group led by former Far North mayor Wayne Brown.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff called the previous Northport work ‘shoddy’ and Transport Minister Phil Twyford said it “had a clearly pre-determined outcome” in favour of moving the port to Marsden Point.

New Zealand First still backs Northport as a new location, with MP Shane Jones saying Manukau was the most treacherous harbour in the country and unfit as an alternative site for Ports of Auckland.

Carr and Haslam director Chris Carr said he didn’t know how the Sapere report had come up with Manukau Harbour.

“It’s probably about the only time in the world I’ll ever agree with Shane Jones,” Carr told told Morning Report.

“The prevailing weather comes in on the western side of the country. Ports don’t exist in the west coast of New Zealand, they exist on the east coast.

“I’m no maritime person but all the shipping companies say that they won’t go to the west coast and that in itself would tend to make Manukau the first shipless port that we’d have in the country.

“It’s simply not suitable operationally and it wouldn’t work no matter how much we might try and make it fit.”

If port had to be moved from Auckland it should be to somewhere ships can get in and out safely, he said.

“You also want to go somewhere near the largest consumption area which is the Auckland-Tauranga-Hamilton-Waikato area.

“The only place you can do that is the Firth of Thames. It’s not ideal.”

He agreed with the Sapere report that Ports of Auckland could keep operating for more than 30 years before it ran out of space where it was.

“But New Zealand’s not good at doing this sort of stuff and we take so long to do it that we need to start working at it and looking at it.

“If you look at it from a logistical point of view the decisions become quite easy – it’s when you get politics involved it becomes quite hard.

“The shipping companies who in the end of the day determine where their vessels come would not choose Manukau, ever.”

Shane Jones told Morning Report he had come off second best to people opposed to a relocation to Northland.

“I had professionally and personally campaigned with my leader for the expansion of Northport and relocation of Ports of Auckland activity to Tauranga and Northland,” he said.

He invoked the sinking of the Orpheus in 1863, in which 189 people died, as reason to not build a port at Manukau Harbour.

“I will prophesy that a thousand years will pass before a new port will ever be located in Manukau Harbour.

“[The Sapere report] wants to take us over the bar of the most treacherous harbour in New Zealand and dredge to a level of spill that will rival Mt Cook somewhere in New Zealand or it’ll be dumped in the ocean.”

Jones said work on a new port needed to “get cracking” in 10 to 15 years.

“In New Zealand we leave too many infrastructure decisions to the last minute.”

No decision is to be made before the election, leaving it for political parties to campaign on.

Transport lobby opposes port move north

Northport should stick to what it's already doing according to the trucking industry. Photo / Tania Whyte
Northport should stick to what it’s already doing according to the trucking industry. Photo / Tania Whyte

NZ Insights By: Imran Ali

The National Road Carriers’ Association has released a report it commissioned from TG Enterprises, which opposes shifting Ports of Auckland to Whangārei, saying it would be logistically impractical and cost-prohibitive to do so, while increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The report, based on interviews with trucking companies and stakeholders, concluded that Auckland’s port provided the best value for money and should continue in its current location until it could not cope with future growth, which it expected would be at least 30 years away.

But those lobbying for the move to Northport, including former Far North mayor Wayne Brown and Northland Mayoral Forum chairman Jason Smith, say the argument for the status quo lacks logic.

With a focus on road freight, the report said the issue was not port location but the efficiency and safety of road (and rail) access to the upper North Island ports of Northport, Auckland and Tauranga. It said servicing customers by road freight from Northport would be nearly eight times more expensive, or more than $1 billion annually, than from Ports of Auckland.

An analysis of road freight cost showed a container truck that made five trips a day between Ports of Auckland and South Auckland for $50 would be only able to achieve one from Northport, at an estimated cost of $230.

“With Auckland’s business growth moving south, and Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty dominating the upper North Island’s economic growth, Northport is too far away,” the report said, while moving to Whangārei would add more than 125,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year for container road freight, compared with about 27,000 tonnes from Ports of Auckland to South Auckland.

That would seriously undermine New Zealand’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, it said.

“The decision to move the port from Auckland to Northport is being rushed. We need to stop. Take stock. Reassess,” the report added.

But Brown said the association had a vested interest ensuring that the port didn’t move north.

He described claims about greenhouse gas emissions, as “total and absolute crap,” saying goods transported to and from Northport by rail freight would mean less pollution and traffic congestion.

“At the moment, more stuff goes to Auckland from Tauranga, which is further away from Northport. Milk from Northland goes to Tauranga for export,” he said.

“Auckland is planning 50,000 houses in the south and 86,000 houses north of (the city). Where are the biggest new commercial businesses like IKEA and Costco going? To West Auckland, not south,” Brown said.

He led the Upper North Island Supply Chain (Unisc) working group, whose report promised an economic boom for Northland if the $10 billion port move happened.

“There’s nothing that will make Northland do better than shifting the port from Auckland,” he said.

Smith said the days of Ports of Auckland were numbered, whereas Northport offered the best deepwater port in the upper North Island.

“Everyone is aware of the growth in Waikato and further south, but the next era of growth in New Zealand will, in my view, be on the north side of Auckland,” he said.

“Ships will be getting bigger in future, and the risk for New Zealand is they won’t be able to come here. That’s where the deepwater port at Northport has an advantage.”

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said the report was built around fear and apprehension, citing points of weakness in the state of the trucking industry.

“We’ll see more electric trucks in future, but for now we see a significant role for rail, and I think the trucking industry is churlish in not acknowledging the $700 million put aside for a four-lane highway out of Whangārei heading south,” Jones said.

Through its Provincial Growth Fund, the Government has provided $300 million for work on the existing rail line between Auckland and Whangārei.

Biofouling Survey For Cargo Vessels Arriving In New Zealand

A Biosecurity New Zealand-organised biofouling survey will involve compulsory hull checks for up to 40 arriving cargo vessels.

The ships randomly selected to take part in the survey will be required to undergo a dive inspection and answer questions about biofouling.

The aim is to build a profile of vessels that are most likely to be contaminated with foreign marine species, says Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Paul Hallett.

“Biofouling poses a grave biosecurity risk to New Zealand’s marine environment. We know that nearly 90% of marine pests arrive in this country as biofouling on the submerged surfaces of international vessels.

“The survey will pinpoint risk factors that influence the extent of biofouling on a commercial vessel visiting New Zealand. It will put us in a better place to target vessels that require further investigation.”

“We already scrutinise the biofouling history and voyage records from arriving vessels to determine the biosecurity risk. The survey results will allows us to further refine our risk analysis.

“The study will also benefit the shipping industry by providing quicker clearance for vessels that pose negligible risk.”

The survey will involve underwater inspection of vessel hulls and other submerged areas. The vessel operator will also be required to complete a questionnaire on the vessel’s maintenance and movement history.

Biosecurity New Zealand has contracted the Cawthron Institute to undertake the field surveys at a range of ports, starting in August 2020. The project is expected to take up to two years and involve surveying up to 40 vessels.

“We want the survey sample to be as representative of the industry as possible. For this reason, the survey will be compulsory for selected vessels. Biosecurity New Zealand will use powers under the Biosecurity Act to allow this.”

With the introduction of Craft Risk Management Risk Standard for Biofouling in May 2018, New Zealand became the first country in the world to introduce nationwide rules to combat the dangers of biofouling.

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Coronavirus: Ships could have shore-leave tightened after new Covid-19 cases

The Government may tighten shore-leave controls on crews of visiting ships as it toughens Covid-19 border restrictions after two women were released from self-isolation, then tested positive.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the case unacceptable and put a senior military official in charge of overseeing the isolation and quarantine process.

Ship crew are free to come ashore if they meet health and isolation conditions, except in Auckland where the port company is the only one to ban routine shore leave due to Covid-19, under alert level one.

Elsewhere, if a ship has previously been at sea for 14 days and declares no relevant health problems among crew, there is no test or physical Covid-19 control as they come ashore.

“The Minister is currently seeking advice on further tightening up these requirements,” said a spokesperson for the Minister of Health David Clark, in response to a query from Stuff.

Major ports contacted by Stuff, at Tauranga, Wellington and Lyttelton follow the Ministry of Health and Maritime New Zealand rules, with decisions on shore leave, made by local public health authorities.

Ports of Auckland (POAL) is the only location where the port company made itself one of the gatekeepers, and it does not allow crew to come ashore, due to Covid-19 risk.

“We’re restricting general shore leave because we feel there are insufficient border controls in place and allowing general shore leave would be an unacceptable risk to the community,” said POAL spokesman Matt Ball.

Ports of Auckland does not routinely allow foreign ship crew ashore due to Covid-19.
DAVID WHITE/STUFFPorts of Auckland does not routinely allow foreign ship crew ashore due to Covid-19.

“Crew of foreign vessels must not be transported onto or from the Ports of Auckland without permission from a General Manager from the Ports of Auckland, Customs and Auckland Regional Public Health Service,” said POAL’s ‘Covid-19 Controls for Contact with Visiting Foreign Vessels – alert level 1’ guide.

In Late May, under Covid-19 alert level two, Port Taranaki told Stuff crew were coming ashore in line with health and Maritime New Zealand guidelines.

In a statement, a Port Taranaki spokesman said berths had been busy with methanol, log, bulk feed, and petrochemical vessels visiting the port, and ship crews were taking the opportunity to get off the water, stock up on provisions, and discover New Plymouth.

A rare cruise ship visit at Port Taranaki with the Azamera Journey calling at New Plymouth in February.
SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFFA rare cruise ship visit at Port Taranaki with the Azamera Journey calling at New Plymouth in February.

The “14-days at sea” criteria prior to a ship arriving at its first New Zealand port, is considered to be a Covid-19 self-isolation period under the guidelines applying to shipping.

“Shore leave is not permitted during the self-isolation period. If the crew need to interact with border or port staff they should follow the advice on personal protection for border staff,” said a spokesperson for Wellington’s Centreport.

A spokesperson at another port told Stuff that crew numbers on cargo ships were small, and at any time shipping companies were highly health-conscious.

Lyttelton Port Company told Stuff that while all shore leave had been banned under Covid-19 alert levels four and three, the decision now lay with Canterbury District Health Board.

“It has been reinforced to Port Companies around New Zealand by the Director of Maritime New Zealand that such leave for crew should be allowed if these criteria are met,” said Phil De Joux, LPC’s strategic engagement manager, in a statement.