A new $56 million cruise ship berth will be built in Lyttelton, with the plans released by the Lyttelton Port Company on 1 May being welcomed by the Christchurch City Council.
The new berth will be the first custom-built cruise ship facility for Christchurch and will be able to accommodate some of the largest cruise liners from around the world.
“The cruise ship berth represents a massive investment in the future of Christchurch and the wider region,” says Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel. “Cruise ships bring a lot of life and economic activity into the city, so it is great that Christchurch will have a dedicated facility.”
With Lyttelton unable to host cruise ships for the last few years, cruise ships have been berthing in Akaroa which has put tremendous pressure on the small town’s amenities and infrastructure.
“I’d like to pay tribute to the community there that has enabled Christchurch to stay connected to the cruise industry. This announcement will bring some relief to them,” Ms Dalziel says. “I would also like to acknowledge the tremendous amount of work that has gone into both the cruise ship berth and the wider Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan so far.”
CRUISE DESTINATION OF CHOICE
The cruise ship berth has been designed to accommodate cruise ships of the size of the world’s largest, the MS Oasis of the Seas. That ship is 362 m long, weighs 225,282 tonnes, and carries around 5400 passengers and 2394 crew.
A council working party was set up to investigate options for hosting cruise ships in Lyttelton and a business case was prepared to assess its public value. Christchurch City Council made the decision to fund the project through the Lyttelton Port Company, and the council will continue to receive the current level of dividend from the port company.
“This is a huge project for the city and we are happy to be able to bring cruise ships back to Lyttelton in time for the 2019–2020 cruise season,” Lyttelton Port Company board chairman Trevor Burt says. “The berth will future-proof Christchurch as a cruise destination of choice for the next few decades, with the capacity to accommodate the largest ships coming to our part of the world.”
A GATEWAY TO CANTERBURY
The cruise ship industry was worth $484 million to the New Zealand economy in the 2015–2016 year and is forecast to grow to $490 million in the 2016–2017 season. Cruise New Zealand board member Tony Petrie says the cruise ship industry is continuing to develop rapidly. “We have seen a dynamic increase in the volume of guests visiting New Zealand, so it’s important that Christchurch has the facilities to offer a gateway to the Canterbury region for all ship sizes,” Mr Petrie says.
“Before the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, cruise ships were able to berth in Lyttelton, so bringing this facility back to Lyttelton by way of a custom-built cruise pier will provide an attractive arrival experience for cruise ship visitors and a boost for Canterbury’s tourism industry, as well as retail businesses in Christchurch.”