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12th November 2019

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RE-OPENING STRATFORD-OKAHUKURA LINE PRIORITY FOR KIWIRAIL CEO

A $40 million project to reopen the mothballed Stratford to Okahukura rail line is a priority for new KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller.

The line, shut since a derailment in 2009, is the only alternative north-south rail link should the main trunk line through National Park ever be shut by a natural disaster. It is also a commercial opportunity for Fonterra, forestry companies and other firms looking for a faster flow of Taranaki exports north to Auckland or Tauranga.          

Miller says the freight volume relying on the main trunk line through National Park is worth about $130 million a year. A major slip, flood or earthquake in the central North Island would disrupt all the country’s inter-island rail services, and freight and tourist flows north to, and south from, Hamilton and Auckland – the country’s two largest markets.

Discussions on reopening the 144-kilometre rail line that emerges north of Taumarunui are already underway, he says. If approved, it is probably a year-long project.

“That line, to me, has to reopen,” Miller told BusinessDesk.

“It’s $40 million but you can’t run a railroad unless you’ve got an ability to get around the country.

“So my task is to convince my board and shareholders that it is worth doing. And I believe it is.”

Government-owned KiwiRail has just re-opened the Napier to Wairoa line, mothballed in 2012 due to serious storm damage. It is still working on repairs from the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake that shut the main South Island rail link for 10 months. It took almost two years to fully restore rail services.

That’s why, Miller says, reopening Stratford to Okahukura is “up there” in terms of his priorities.

“If we had a washout of some Kaikoura magnitude we would be wondering why we hadn’t done it,” he said. “To me, it’s a big priority for national resilience.”

Miller was speaking after the company and Wellington’s CentrePort marked the first extended log train from the Waingawa log yard south of Masterton.

The new service will increase daily log loads from 30 to 45 wagons and will boost annual log tonnage by about 100,000 tonnes to 370,000 tonnes. By March, the firms and local foresters are hoping to lift that to 60 wagons a day, taking another 100,000 tonnes of logs off the Remutaka Hill Road into Wellington annually.

Miller told guests – including forestry and regional economic development minister Shane Jones – that KiwiRail is moving only about 5 million of the 35 million tonnes of logs being harvested annually.

That number has to increase, not just because of the shortage of truck drivers, but also to contain emissions, road congestion and the under-appreciated extent of road damage from 50 tonne-plus trucks.

A study KiwiRail is undertaking for the New Zealand Transport Agency suggested a dollar spent on rail would avoid about $3.50 on road maintenance, he said.

“It’s going to be a number something like that. So it’s a significant benefit to the country.”

KiwiRail is establishing a log yard at Wairoa and is planning a $4 million yard at Dannevirke to help speed forestry volumes through the North Island.

Miller said the company hopes to complete a study for a log service from Gisborne by the end of the year, and is also looking at options to rail more logs from Murupara and Kawerau.

A re-opened Stratford to Okahukura line could also deliver Taranaki logs to Tauranga, along with product Fonterra currently rails from its Whareroa plant south of Hawera to Palmerston North before railing it north again.

Miller said it’s hard to know how quickly some of the new regional facilities will come together and how soon that extra volume will appear on KiwiRail’s manifest. About $60 million of container wagons are being re-purposed to carry logs.

“These types of operations take a long time to pull together between a whole raft of industries,” he told BusinessDesk.

“The tonnages are job by job, province by province, but we are certainly going after several million tonnes more.”

(BusinessDesk)

Wednesday Suez Canal traffic reaches 2nd highest recorded

in Port News 03/01/2019

Traffic passing through the Suez Canal on Wednesday reached the second highest daily traffic recorded in the history of the canal, Suez Canal Authority Chairman Mohab Mamish announced, adding that 72 vessels with a total tonnage of 5.1 million tons crossed the canal in both directions on Wednesday.

Thirty-three ships passed through the canal coming from the north with a total load of 2 million tons, while 39 ships coming from the south crossed with a total load of 3.1 million tons, Mamish added.

Twelve giant vessels with cargo that exceeded 150,000 tons per ship crossed the canal on Wednesday, which was the first precedent of its kind, according to the chairman.

Seven large ships carrying cargo that ranged between 100,000 to 150,000 tons per ship also crossed the canal on Wednesday.

The largest ship that crossed the canal on Wednesday coming from the north was the Panamanian container ship MSC SVEVA, which carried a cargo of 196,000 tons, Mamish said, adding that it came from Morocco and was heading to Oman.

On the other hand, the Danish container ship MILAN MAERSK topped the convoys from the south with a load of 221,000 tons. It came from Malaysia and was heading to the Netherlands.

Suez Canal rates recorded at the beginning of the new year are promising and will positively reflect on the canal’s revenues, Mamish said, stressing the economic feasibility of the New Suez Canal project and its importance to the global trade movement.

The Suez Canal Authority has been able, thanks to the continuous development of the navigational course and the flexible marketing policies, to deal with all the variables of the maritime transport industry, through increasing the capacity of the Suez Canal to receive current and future generations of global fleets and benefiting from the recovery of global trade and growth indicators of the world’s major economies, Mamish said.

Auckland’s supply chain complications

Media release – POAL and NRC 14/11/19

Auckland’s supply chain complications

National Road Carriers Association and the Ports of Auckland are combining forces to promote change in the supply chain to improve delivery times and prevent delays.

This initiative has come about because of supply chain capacity issues which were highlighted following an accident at Ports of Auckland in August. Imported freight has taken longer to deliver and exporters have encountered delays getting their goods away, leading to frustration all round.

“The supply chain is running at capacity, so unexpected problems can have a domino effect,” says David Aitken, National Road Carriers CEO.
“At its heart, the problem is Auckland’s growth. The supply chain needs to evolve and we’re all going to have to change the way we work to prevent future problems. Better planning and coordination are the key.”

“We’re letting stakeholders know what causes hold-ups and we’re working with partners to improve our end-to-end processes,” he added.
Situations contributing to delays can arise at any stage in the supply chain, sometimes occurring thousands of kilometres away from New Zealand.
“In the last 12 months over half of all container ships arrived at Auckland late (often as a result of bad weather), causing congestion,” says Craig Sain, Ports of Auckland’s General Manager Commercial Relationships. “This makes it hard for us to staff the terminal properly, causing delays.”

Labour scheduling issues at the port are made worse by a shortage of labour in Auckland, which also affects the trucking industry.

The port is currently installing an automated container handling system to address this problem, but the work required to install the system has reduced terminal capacity by about 20%, adding to congestion. This situation will remain until late 2019 when the project will be completed.
“With reduced space in the terminal and more containers coming in due to growing Auckland demand for freight, it is taking us longer to service trucks visiting the port,” says Mr Sain.

Another problem is that getting containers off the port can be delayed because there is nowhere for the containers to go. The port works 24/7 and has capacity at nights and weekends, but often distribution centres, importers warehouses and empty container depots are closed at these times.
“In the past working 9-5, Monday to Friday was fine, but now Auckland has over 1.5 million people it is no longer feasible,” says Mr Sain. “The whole industry needs to be able to work 24/7, not just the port and carriers, and this means distribution centres and importers need to be open nights and weekends to receive imports.”

The road freight transport industry is caught in the middle says David Aitken.  “Importers don’t want to pay for weekend or afterhours work but they also don’t want to pay to hold containers at the port or container depots as a result of their limited business hours.”

“We are storing containers at freight hubs longer, which adds costs for double handling, or are delivering goods later than originally expected because of holdups. We’re also facing higher costs because of Auckland’s congestion, costs which could be avoided by working 24/7,” he added.

The solution is going to come through a combination of technology, greater co-ordination and a move to 24/7 working throughout the supply chain.
As well as investing in automated container handling, Ports of Auckland is working with National Road Carriers Association to update its processes and business rules to minimise manual intervention and incentivise off-peak container movements. Last minute freight moves will become a thing of the past, with all movements having to be planned in advance.

“As a port we have a key role to play and we are trying to educate other players in the supply chain so that they understand the need for change and what they can do to make the process more efficient,” said Craig Sain. “Ultimately, these changes will benefit New Zealand through the fast, efficient and cost-effective delivery of freight.”

Northport gets permanent, year-round, fortnightly port call from Mediterranean Shipping Company

The MSC ship, Northern Diplomat, took the first kiwifruit harvest from Northport earlier this year. Now the trial export service has been a permanent addition to the port's schedule.
The MSC ship, Northern Diplomat, took the first kiwifruit harvest from Northport earlier this year. Now the trial export service has been a permanent addition to the port’s schedule.

A double dose of good news has Northland’s deepwater port Northport buzzing, with expanded coastal shipping services locked in and a trial kiwifruit export service now operating year-round and taking other export products.

Northport chief executive Jon Moore said a seasonal trial of a port call at Northport by a global shipping giant has become a permanent, year-round service.

MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) has announced it is making the fortnightly port call at Northport by its Kiwi Express service a fixed part of its international schedule. The move will improve access to international markets for Northland’s exporters and importers.

A trial, which started in May and was planned to run until the end of the kiwifruit season in late August, has brought a ship to Northport every two weeks to load Zespri kiwifruit and other locally grown produce.

But the year-round service means other Northland exports can use it. The kiwifruit service alone was expected to take more than 500 truck and trailer trips off the road south of Marsden Pt.

Moore said that as well Pacifica Shipping had also confirmed it was expanding its coastal shipping service between Northport and ports further south, including into the South Island.

He said this opened up new opportunities for Northland businesses to get their products to elsewhere in the country without the need for them to be transported by road south of Marsden Pt, which would save costs and also mean less trucks on the roads.

”A port is a facilitator and we don’t drive any of this, but we can facilitate it well and if we didn’t have a port we wouldn’t be able to do any of this,” he said.

”The two announcements) have the potential to really help business grow in Northland and it’s now up to the business community to help grow this service by using it.”

General manager of MSC New Zealand Steve Wright said the company was delighted to add Northport as a year-round call on the Kiwi Express.

“It is a noticeable and important inclusion for all exporters and importers in the Northland region, as they now have direct access to all international markets for their cargo.”

Northland Inc chief executive officer David Wilson said the move was a really good sign.

“It’s showing confidence in the Northland economy.”

He said the move “just makes complete sense” and makes it a lot easier for Northland businesses to directly reach international markets.

“The cost of freight and logistics is an important component in any exporter’s product offering.”

Kerikeri-based grower, coolstore and packhouse operator Alan Thompson thought the move from a trial service to a permanent one was good and he hoped others would make use of it year-round.

Before the trial, kiwifruit was trucked from Kerikeri to Auckland before being loaded on to rail and taken to the Port of Tauranga for export.

Thompson said the cost to get one pallet of kiwifruit from Kerikeri to the Bay of Plenty is about $102. To load that same pallet at Marsden Point cost about $36, a saving of $66.

Moore was thrilled the service had been extended.

“The move is the result of months of hard work and relationship building by many people and organisations around our region. It reinforces what those of us who call Northland home already know, there is significant potential for economic growth here.

“We encourage any and all Northland importers and exporters, regardless of what sector they operate in, to use this service. We are hopeful that, given sufficient support, it could potentially become a weekly call.”

New Zealand transport minister fined for making phone call from plane

 / 02:49 PM July 09, 2018

Transport Minister Phil Twyford speaks with media on Monday, July 9, 2018, in Wellington, New Zealand. Twyford said he will pay a small fine for violating aviation rules by making a cellphone call from a plane. /AP Photo/Nick Perry

Wellington, New Zealand — New Zealand’s transport minister said Monday he will pay a small fine for violating aviation rules by making a cellphone call from a plane.

The Civil Aviation Authority fined Phil Twyford 500 New Zealand dollars ($340) for breaching rules it says were intended to prevent electromagnetic interference with aircraft instruments.

The authority said that because Twyford ended his call before takeoff, it didn’t pose a significant risk to the safety of the flight.

Twyford had earlier stepped down from his role overseeing aviation safety after making the call to a staffer in May.

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said the breach was a low-level offense and that Twyford was contrite and would be reinstated to his aviation oversight role now the investigation was complete.

“A slight irony, of course, is that we have noticed that a great number of other people are guilty of that offense,” Peters said. “It should be a great deal of education value to us all to know how serious it is.”

Twyford said Monday he can’t recall the exact chronology of the call, but that his phone records and airline records indicated he’d been on the phone for about three minutes while the plane was taxiing but before takeoff.

Cellphone calls are banned after the doors are closed in preparation for takeoff. While some rules around mobile devices have been relaxed in recent years, passengers are still banned from making cellphone calls or sending text messages during flight.

“I’ll be paying the bill very shortly,” Twyford said. “It was a breach, and particularly inappropriate given that I’m the transport minister.”

He said he wanted to reiterate his earlier “unreserved apology” for his mistake.

The breach was brought to light by an opposition lawmaker.

 

Trains return to Wairoa– Napier line

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones gives the thumbs-up to the reopening of the Wairoa–Napier railway line – Photos courtesy of KiwiRail

Trains are moving again on the Napier to Wairoa line for the first time in six years following the reopening of the railway line in early June.

WEB EXCLUSIVE

The first train travelled along the Napier to Wairoa railway line between Napier and Eskdale to deliver ballast as part of the project to reopen the line. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, KiwiRail and Napier Port have been discussing the reinstatement of the mothballed line for several years.

Repairs to the line to enable it to be reopened were made possible through the provision of $5 million from the NZ government’s Provincial Growth Fund, which will eventually allow a low-speed forestry service to operate between Wairoa and Napier, delivering logs from forestry blocks to the port.

At the official reopening event, KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said, “Today sees a work train travelling up to Eskdale from Napier, the first time there has been a train on the line since 2012. The reopening of the Wairoa–Napier line is one of the first to be funded from the Provincial Growth Fund, and would not have happened without it. It is a significant event for KiwiRail on a number of levels, and recognition of the tremendous value that rail delivers to New Zealand.”

REGIONAL BENEFITS

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council group manager strategic development Tom Skerman says that while credit should go to KiwiRail for achieving this important milestone, he wants to acknowledge Councillor Alan Dick, chairman of the council’s regional transport committee, for his vision, perseverance and advocacy for the reinstatement of the service.

“With central government behind the project, our focus now is to support the establishment of a commercial operation on the line. We expect this to deliver many regional benefits, such as resilience of the transport network, effective management of the anticipated growth in demand for log transport, and reducing the carbon footprint associated with the logistics of harvest,” says Mr Skerman.

Mr Reidy says KiwiRail has given the government a list of ‘shovel ready projects’ that will enhance the company’s role, particularly in the regions, of which the Wairoa–Napier line is the first to get underway. “Having work trains running is an important part of getting the line open to shift logs by rail and take trucks off the road,” he notes.

CUTTING CARBON EMISSIONS

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, who attended the official event, says the government is making safety a higher priority when it invests in transport, and taking logging trucks off challenging roads contributes to that.

“We’re strongly committed to making significant investment in regional rail and I look forward to being able to make more announcements with KiwiRail in the coming months,” he says. “KiwiRail is experiencing growth in its overall forestry business – a result being driven by an increase in the volume of logs – and the government sees substantial benefits in using rail to decrease the number of logging trucks on our roads.”

Mr Reidy says the reopening of the Wairoa–Napier line is an important project for the region, for New Zealand and for KiwiRail. “It lifts the regional economy, makes the roads safer, and helps the environment by cutting carbon emissions – every tonne of freight carried by rail is a 66% emissions saving over heavy road freight.”

KiwiRail estimates that using the Wairoa–Napier line to move the logs could take more than 5500 trucks a year off the road, and cut carbon emissions by 1292 tonnes. The line is expected to be ready for logging trains by the end of the year.

Seawalls completed north of Kaikoura on SH1

The seawall at Ohau Point was completed in May

The last of more than 7500 seawall blocks just north of Ohau Point along the Kaikoura coast have been installed along State Highway 1.

WEB EXCLUSIVE

NZ Transport Agency earthquake recovery manager Tim Crow says this is a significant milestone for the recovery work in what was one of the most damaged areas following the November 2016 earthquake.

“We’re pleased work has progressed so much on these structures, and it’s down to the efforts of the crew who have been working hard to get the job done. All the seawalls have now been completed just in time for winter,” he says. “Seawalls offer long-term sustainable protection to the road and rail transport corridor from the coastal elements and seismic activity.”

In order to reopen the road for last Christmas, the seawalls had temporarily been built at a lower height. Since then, work has been underway to build them up for long-term resilience.

NIGHT OPERATIONS

To prevent significant traffic interruptions, some activities could only be done at night. This involved importing large volumes of construction material, along with the removal of slip material.

When SH1 was opened to traffic by day, the seawalls could only be backfilled at night. Night crews have raised the height of the road at Ohau Point by 5 m since Christmas, and around 150,000 cu m of backfill has been placed behind the seawalls.

Tim Crow says completing the seawalls was a momentous occasion for the crew, particularly as some team members who had laid the very first foundations also helped place the final blocks.

WISTA International Welcomes WISTA Japan

 

 

 

Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) is proud to announce the re-launch of WISTA Japan.

“We are delighted to welcome Japan back to our WISTA family. Japan plays an important role in the maritime industry, being the second ship owing nation in the world and we are positive that WISTA Japan will contribute greatly to the aims and mission of WISTA International,” said Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou, president of WISTA International.

“I am very gland to re-launch WISTA Japan and to be registered as the official member of WISTA International. In the shipping industry in Japan, it is both socially and politically meaningful to create a women’s association. We are looking forward to growing with WISTA International,” said Shoko Kamimori, president of WISTA Japan.

Launch Party for WISTA Japan

WISTA Japan was re-founded by: Shoko Kamimori, Fukada Salvage & Marine Works Co., Ltd., President WISTA Japan; Yoriko Ishida, National Institute of Technology, Oshima College; Akiko Matsumoto, Tokyo Century Corporation; Reiko Yoshida, Atsumi & Sakai; Atsuko Kissho, Atsumi & Sakai; Aya Osawa, The Japan Ship Owners Protection & Indemnity Association; Maki Yoshida, Star Marine Public Relations Corporation; Masayo Wakamori, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping; Yuka Narita, Atsumi & Sakai; Yukako Mori, Atsumi & Sakai; Yukari Aoto, Sonpo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc..

WISTA International is comprised of 40 National WISTA (NWA) around the world and nearly 3,000 members. To launch a national WISTA association, the association must file appropriate paperwork in the home country, have at least 10 members in management positions and pay annual fees to WISTA International. WISTA International and its NWAs facilitate the exchange of contacts, information and experiences among its members, promote and facilitate the education of its members and provide liaison with other related institutions and organizations worldwide.
Source: WISTA

New Zealand Transport Agency Chair appointed

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced the appointment of Michael Stiassny as Chair of the New Zealand Transport Agency Board.

Michael Stiassny has been appointed for a term of three years commencing on 19 April 2018.

“Michael Stiassny has a wealth of governance, leadership and financial knowledge having been involved in governance and corporate positions for the past three decades,” Phil Twyford says.

The NZ Transport Agency’s core functions are to plan and invest in New Zealand’s land transport networks through the National Land Transport Programme.

“This Government has a transformative agenda to rebalance the transport system toward better safety, access and value for money, along with more investment in regional and local roads and rail.

“The NZ Transport Agency has a crucial role to play in creating a modern and sustainable transport network across land transport modes. Michael Stiassny brings strong and decisive leadership to the Board.

“I’d like to thank Dame Fran Wilde who’s been acting chair over the past three months and acknowledge the contribution of Chris Moller who stood down in January,” Phil Twyford says.

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