World’s first full scale ammonia engine test – an important step towards carbon free shipping

in International Shipping News,Shipping: Emission Possible 01/07/2020

The technology group Wärtsilä, in close customer cooperation with Knutsen OAS Shipping AS and Repsol, as well as with the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre, will commence the world’s first long term, full-scale, testing of ammonia as a fuel in a marine four-stroke combustion engine. The testing is made possible by a 20 MNOK grant from the Norwegian Research Council through the DEMO 2000 programme.

“This is a great example that illustrates the importance of dedicated petroleum R&D. This DEMO 2000 project is another steppingstone for reaching our ambitious climate targets and it is also aligned with our recently published hydrogen strategy. We need to develop and use new technologies that reduce emissions. We are very happy to support development work that can lead to increased use of ammonia as a fuel in shipping and in the offshore sector. Know-how from this project will also provide important input to the development of regulations for the use of ammonia and other low-carbon fuels”, says Tina Bru, Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy.

Ammonia is promising as a carbon-free fuel for marine applications, in view of the maritime industry’s need to fulfil the International Maritime Organisation’s vision of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by at least 50 percent by 2050. Furthermore, ammonia has huge potential for providing green energy to remote power systems, such as offshore installations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Development work by Wärtsilä, as it prepares for the use of ammonia as a fuel, continues with this testing programme, which will be the world`s first full-scale four-stroke combustion engine test. The project will commence in the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre’s testing facilities at Stord, Norway during the first quarter of 2021.

“We are really excited to further develop and understand the combustion properties of ammonia as a carbon free fuel in one of our multi-fuel engines”, says Egil Hystad, General Manager, Market Innovation at Wärtsilä Marine Business.

“Ammonia storage and supply systems will be designed and developed for maximum personal safety, and in parallel with the Fuel Gas Handling System under development as part of the EU project ShipFC. This project is coordinated by NCE Maritime CleanTech, and it involves an ammonia driven fuel cell which will be tested on the Eidesvik Offshore supply vessel, Viking Energy”, Hystad continues.The project leaders pictured at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre’s test facility at Stord, Norway from left to right: Egil Hystad, Wärtsilä, Willy Wågen, Sustainable Catapult, and Kjell Storelid, Wärtsilä.

The project leaders pictured at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre’s test facility at Stord, Norway from left to right: Egil Hystad, Wärtsilä, Willy Wågen, Sustainable Catapult, and Kjell Storelid, Wärtsilä.

From testing to real operations

Wärtsilä, as part of its development work on future fuels, has studied the use of ammonia as a future carbon-free fuel through the ZEEDS initiative. The company’s first ammonia combustions tests were commenced in Vaasa, Finland, in winter 2020, and will continue with this long-term testing at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre facilities in Stord.

“We are extremely pleased to be part of this project that will prove for the industry the robustness of ammonia as fuel. The project confirms our test facilities’ and Norway’s leading position within the testing and development of solutions for the use of maritime carbon-free fuels”, says Willie Wågen, CEO of Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre. The centre is part of the Norwegian Catapult programme that facilitates a national infrastructure for innovation. The programme is run by SIVA in close cooperation with Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council and financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.

The full-scale fuel testing programme can pave the way for ammonia engines to be used in real vessel operations within few years, and several shipowners have shown interest in this possibility. It will also provide important insights into the long-term effect of an ammonia fuelled engine in relation to other systems and components in a vessel, including the required safety measures.

Close cooperation between the government and industry

“A future implementation of ammonia as a carbon free fuel, combined with clean energy production from offshore wind or other renewable energy sources can be the start of a new industrial era for the Norwegian industry”, Egil Hystad points out.

“The Norwegian culture for collaboration and knowledge sharing across different companies and sectors, is a great support in closing big technology gaps. The assistance, cooperation and funding from governmental institutions are essential to drive the change towards a carbon free future”, he continues.
Source: Wärtsilä

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.

Stranded Tauranga ship: Two investigations launched after engine failure

Mauao walkers could see the ship anchored at sunrise. Photo / Trent Sunderland
Mauao walkers could see the ship anchored at sunrise. Photo / Trent Sunderland

Bay of Plenty Times

Dual investigations have been launched after a log carrier’s engine failed at the entrance to Port of Tauranga this morning.

The Singaporean-registered log carrier, Funing-9690913, was bound for China when it lost power at the entrance to the Port of Tauranga about 12.30am.

Without power, it could not steer and drifted to the edge of the channel at the base of Mauao. It is believed to have snagged a marker buoy.

About 20 crew members were on board and there were no reported injuries.

The ship was towed away and is now anchored in deep water outside Tauranga Harbour.

The Funing will not return to port until authorities give permission and its propeller and rudder must be inspected by divers.

The ship’s hull is understood to be intact and there was no pollution.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission and Maritime New Zealand are investigating the incident.

The commission’s investigation will focus on the causes and circumstances of the incident and the Maritime NZ investigation will focus on whether the rules were followed correctly.

Maritime New Zealand’s deputy director of safety response systems, Nigel Clifford, said the vessel would be able to continue on to China, if it is “safe to sail without repairs”.

“If the vessel requires repairs a repair plan will be established by the owners. Authorities would overview any such proposals.”

Commission spokesman Simon Pleasants said a team of three investigators left Wellington for Tauranga mid-morning.

He was not sure whether they would board the ship this afternoon as the interviews could take some time and, for safety reasons, they would not want to be disembarking at night.

A Port of Tauranga spokeswoman said the ship was being piloted out of the harbour “as normal” when the engine failure happened.

“A second pilot was transferred on to the vessel several hours after … to relieve/assist the first pilot.” Both pilots had since been taken off the ship.

Tug boats were also requested to help the vessel.

“Our marine teams did an amazing job in keeping the stricken vessel steady and then towing it to safety.”

“The wind and swell was challenging for all vessels involved but the conditions eased throughout the morning,” she said.

The view of the anchored ship from Mauao. Photo / Trent Sunderland
The view of the anchored ship from Mauao. Photo / Trent Sunderland

The engine failure delayed the arrival of one container ship and one log ship, but there were no long-term impacts from the incident.

“We frequently deal with shipping delays and changes due to weather and other operational reasons.”

There was a 30-knot wind and significant swell when the engine failed.

High tide was at 7.40am.

The Mauao Base Track was closed as a precaution on request from the Harbourmaster but was reopened by midday.

Residents feel railroaded by KiwiRail freight centre plans

KiwiRail’s road and rail freight centre is planned for Railway Rd, just beyond Palmerston North Airport.
SUPPLIEDKiwiRail’s road and rail freight centre is planned for Railway Rd, just beyond Palmerston North Airport.

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Residents living in the path of KiwiRail’s planned freight centre near Palmerston North are reeling as they realise the effect it will have on their properties and lives.

“Our lifestyles haven’t just been thrown under a bus, they have been thrown under a 1.5-kilometre-long fully laden freight train,” said Parrs Rd resident Maree Woods.

She said people in the area between the airport and Bunnythorpe were used to trains going past, but not to shunting yards operating around the clock.

Woods was also worried about traffic patterns once Railway Rd, a busy route from the city to Bunnythorpe and Feilding, was absorbed into the railway yards.

The site for the 2.5km-long KiwiRail centre was announced by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones in Palmerston North on Thursday.

The planning and land acquisition needed for the development were being paid for from a $40m Provincial Growth Fund grant.

KiwiRail held information sessions about its plans before the Covid-19 lockdown, but delayed the announcement of the site until last week.

A ground-level view of the proposed KiwiRail road and rail freight centre.
SUPPLIEDA ground-level view of the proposed KiwiRail road and rail freight centre.

Roberts Line resident Dee Wallace was one of about 70 people who received letters on Wednesday telling them their properties would be affected.

She had to wait until the formal announcement to find out what the effects would be.

“We are going to be looking straight at it from across the road.”

Her family had for 13 years lived in a 1903 villa that was the original farmhouse in the area.

They had spent a lot of time and money restoring it to its original character.

“It is our forever home.”

Her children, and children she looked after under home-care arrangements, had grown up enjoying the rural lifestyle, being able to feed a calf and pat the sheep.

“It’s actually very peaceful.”

As well as the freight centre itself, it was likely a new access road for trucks would join Roberts Line just outside their gate.

Wallace said she understood the development would create jobs, eventually, “but at what expense?”

KiwiRail’s road and rail centre will transform a semi-rural area into a huge industrial park.
WARWICK SMITH/STUFFKiwiRail’s road and rail centre will transform a semi-rural area into a huge industrial park.

Clevely Line resident Tarsha Isles said she believed the KiwiRail development would be a great thing for Palmerston North, but the implications for her family were devastating.

They would lose their home of seven years.

Isles Construction, in which she is a director, had only recently moved a new home into the area.

Her parents Desma and Bob Isles moved into their house just before Christmas and still kept a watchful eye on the family home they built 33 years ago.

“So we are actually losing three houses.

“It’s still very fresh.

“I’m shocked and devastated, but I understand this is a really important thing that needs to happen.”

Kairanga-Bunnythorpe Rd resident Aaron Fox will be living about 500 metres away from the centre, which would transform a semi-rural lifestyle area into “a huge operation on the doorstep”.

He said he did not oppose progress, but was shocked by the lack of consultation.

Fox said city mayor Grant Smith and city councillors should be standing up for locals, to make sure their interests were protected.

“Let’s make sure it works for everybody.”

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones was in Manawatū on Thursday to announce initial funding for the rail yards.
WARWICK SMITH/STUFFRegional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones was in Manawatū on Thursday to announce initial funding for the rail yards.

Fox said promises the development would create hundreds of jobs and attract billions of dollars of investment should be questioned.

“At the moment people are talking about a lot of zeroes. I wonder what story book they are reading.”

KiwiRail’s investment and capital transactions general manager Olivia Poulsen said visits had started with the owners of the 70-odd properties that would be affected.

About 40 properties were likely to be bought. The other 30 would be neighbours and some of their land might be needed to create buffer zones to manage the effects of the centre beyond the boundaries.

“Our intention is to minimise land acquisition as much as possible.”

Public consultation would influence the final design.

KiwiRail expected to lodge an application to designate the land by the end of September.

Claims Ports of Auckland move to Whangārei is impractical just ‘snobbery’

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has rubbished a trucking association report that says moving Ports of Auckland north would be impractical.

The recently-released report, commissioned by the National Road Carriers Association, looked at the costs and challenges for road freight of moving Ports of Auckland to Northport at Whangārei’s Marsden Point.

Such a move, expected to cost $10 billion, has been favoured by a Government-backed working party, although a final decision on the move is not expected before this year’s election.

Posts of Auckland handles about one third of the nation’s container trade and two million tonnes of general cargo (file photo).
DAVID WHITE/STUFFPosts of Auckland handles about one third of the nation’s container trade and two million tonnes of general cargo (file photo).

But the road carriers’ report said moving Auckland’s port to Northport would be logistically impractical, prohibitively expensive, increase greenhouse gas emissions and add to traffic congestion, by increasing truck trips between Northland and Auckland.

It calculated 340,000 heavy truck trips and 27,000 freight trains would be needed to carry goods from Northport to the proposed inland port at Swanson, in West Auckland, and said current road and rail is not up to scratch.

The National Road Carriers Association says 340,000 trucks and 27,000 freight trains will be needed to transport goods from Northland to Auckland if the ports move (file photo).
ROSA WOODS/STUFFThe National Road Carriers Association says 340,000 trucks and 27,000 freight trains will be needed to transport goods from Northland to Auckland if the ports move (file photo).

The report concludes Ports of Auckland should continue in its current location until it can’t handle further growth, and a super port in the Firth of Thames or Manukau Harbour should be considered as part of a 100-year plan.

But Jones said the report was part of Auckland’s “snobbery” against Tai Tokerau, by favouring a new port instead of the existing deep water port in Northland.

Building a new port in the Firth of Thames would require billions of dollars more than moving to Northport and require an act of Parliament to sign off the resource consent, he said, while using Manukau Harbour would require ships to cross “the most treacherous bar” in the country.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says moving Ports of Auckland to Northport makes more sense than trying to build a new port in Auckland.
HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY-IMAGESRegional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says moving Ports of Auckland to Northport makes more sense than trying to build a new port in Auckland.

“With Ports of Auckland, there’s no free pass, so obviously I’ve always promoted further utilisation of Northport because it’s got excess capacity, it’s a natural deep access way and it’s a key feature in regional development.”

Jones said the road carriers’ report was also about the trucking industry trying to defend its own interests, which are coming under threat as New Zealand looks to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

The port move is reliant on rail and the current Government has already spent more than $200 million on upgrading the North Auckland Rail Line, including $40m to buy land for a rail spur out to Marsden Point which has now been secured, he said.

A further $700m has been allocated to build a four-lane highway south of Whangārei, Jones said.

HOUSEHOLD GOODS WILL INCREASE

But the National Road Carriers Association report has been backed by the Road Transport Forum, which said moving freight Ports of Auckland to Northport was “folly”.

Chief executive Nick Leggett said the plan made even less sense in the post-Covid environment.

“New Zealand cannot bear the brunt of the huge $10 billion upfront capital cost required to get Northport and its road and rail supply lines up to task, let alone the supply chain disruption and the five-fold increase in road transport costs that will hit the pockets of householders directly,” he said.

“All household goods, including groceries, will go up significantly if freight comes into New Zealand some 200km further away from its markets.”

FURTHER INFORMATION TO BE RELEASED

A report on the options for relocating the Ports of Auckland freight functions, undertaken by independent consultants Sapere on behalf of the Ministry of Transport, has now been provided to ministers.

A timetable for the information’s release is being finalised by the ministry but Jones would like it be released in the next 10 days.

The report comes after the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy working party, headed by former Far North mayor Wayne Brown, favoured a $10b plan to shift the ports north, recommending it be done within 15 years.

But the working party’s work has been heavily criticised, with reviews saying it failed to provide a credible basis for making a decision on the move.

Cabinet wanted to see more analysis before making a decision. Jones said that decision would now become an election issue.

Volkswagen launches world’s largest low-emissions LNG car transport ship

Volkswagen isn’t just trying to reduce emissions in its cars.

The automaker has launched the first of two LNG-powered overseas cargo ships that will replace two of the nine heavy oil-burning ships it currently uses on routes between Europe and North America.

(VW)

The China-made Siem Confucius left Emden, Germany, on Tuesday with 4,800 cars onboard bound for Veracruz, Mexico. According to the automaker, which is still trying to clean up its image in the wake of the “dieselgate” scandal, the 200-meter-long ship reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent, nitrogen oxide by 30 percent, soot by 60 percent and Sulphur oxides by 100 percent compared to the conventional ships. It is the largest vehicle transporter of its size.

VW Group’s “goTozero” program is targeted at reaching carbon neutrality across the company by 2050 and reducing the lifetime greenhouse gas emissions of the production and operation of its vehicles by 30 percent compared to 2015 levels.

According to VW, the ships cruise at 16.5 knots (~19 mph) in eco mode and can also run on egas or biogas if necessary. The company currently schedules approximately 7,700 shipments annually around the world and will continue to update its fleet.

Shipping is Waiting for the Global Economy to Bounce Back

 Hellenic Shipping News 27/06/2020

The recession currently underway globally is bound to have a negative impact on demand for ships. However, the scale of the recovery will also be key for the shipping industry, as some countries will bounce back quicker than others. Which ones will manage to do this, could be key for shipping. “The World Bank estimates that the global economy will fall by 5.2% this year, underlining that the Covid-19 pandemic has had rapid and massive consequences despite the implementation of unprecedented programs to support local economies”, Intermodal said in its latest weekly report.

Source: Intermodal

According to Intermodal’s SnP Broker, Mr. Zisis Stylianos, “in its report on the Global Economic Outlook the World Bank points out that in the developed economies the decline will be in the order of 7%, while in emerging ones 2.5%. This is the deepest recession the planet has known since World War II, and 70 to 100 million people may find themselves below the poverty line. This revised forecast shows that the damage to the global economy will be worse than estimated in April by the International Monetary Fund that estimated a global contraction of 3% for 2020. China has announced it will not set a growth target for 2020, as the country will focus on stabilizing employment and ensuring the living standards of its citizens”.

The shipbroker added that “while addressing the 13th National People’s Congress, China’s Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, said the decision not to set a development goal was related to the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the report shared at the conference, China will focus on maintaining security in the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment and domestic investment. The report also listed six areas the world’s second-largest economy should focus on, namely; job security, basic living needs, the functioning of market bodies, food and energy safety, stable industrial and supply chains and the normal functioning of first-level functions”.

Source: Intermodal

Stylianos also noted that “in the oil sector, the U.S. government is seeking to put an end to oil exports, Venezuela’s main source of revenue, in order to weaken President Nicolas Maduro government. It may even extend its sanctions to a dozen more tankers. So many oil companies are reviewing their plans to charter tankers found in Venezuela over the past twelve months. According to Reuters, Chinese oil companies may soon cease chartering any tanker that arrived in Venezuela during the last year. The aim is to avoid blacklisting if the US decides to impose sanctions on more ships that engage in commercial activities with Caracas”.

“As far as the dry bulk sector is concerned, we are witnessing a very impressive increase in the BDI index in the past two weeks, with the strong momentum pushing the index above the 1500 points barrier. It is worth noting that on June 1st the BDI closed at 520 points and the Capesize index at 82 points with average daily earnings for the big bulkers at $ 3,648/day. Within 15 days both the BDI and BCI increased by more 139% 2,893% respectively, while the average daily fare of Capes went up by 448.9%. Based on the positive market sentiment and the momentum that is inspiring it, the recovery of the ground lost in the past months appears to be even closer now”, Intermodal’s analyst concluded.


Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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.

© Scoop Media

Government looking behind schedule on road safety targets

The government is being accused by the Opposition of failing to deliver on its road safety targets.No caption

National’s transport spokesperson says the government hasn’t delivered. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

The government committed $1.4 billion at the end of 2018 towards a three-year programme to make roads safer – the goal of which was to stop 160 deaths and serious injuries each year.

But so far, according to written parliamentary questions, only $474 million had been spent on the Safe Network Programme by the end of March.

Progress is going well on rumble strips with almost 3,000km being installed out of its 3,500km target by mid-2021.

RNZ reported in July last year that just 16km of median barriers had been installed in a year.

But as of the end of May this year, 18km has been installed out of its 198km target.

Only 151km of side barriers had been built so far out of a target of 322km.

National’s transport spokesperson Chris Bishop said those figures weren’t good enough.

“When you go through all the numbers the government has talked a big game on road safety measures but has simply failed to deliver,” he said.

Spokesperson for road safety charity, Brake, Caroline Perry said the progress was disappointing.

“We’d obviously like to see these measures rolled out as quickly as we can, they are measures that are proven to reduce deaths and injuries on roads and so in order to save lives and improve road safety we need to see more of them in place,” she said.

Perry said Covid-19 would have had an impact on work, but what she really wanted to see now is more barriers being installed and more speed limit changes.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said work will now start to speed up.

“Up until our government put the big focus on road safety and median barriers, it was incredibly difficult for the New Zealand Transport Agency to implement them, but that process has been streamlined and I expect it to really start to ramp up in the next few years,” she said.

Safer speed limits are a key element of the safe network programme, but only 35km of roads have had their limits changed so far.

Genter said that’s because the speed limit changes has been subject to a lot of consultation.

“I expect that with community input those decisions will be made soon,” she said.

When asked if NZTA will meet its targets in 2021, Julie-Anne Genter said saving lives is the most important target and she was confident that will be met.

Auckland port keeps shore leave ban for overseas cargo ship crews

Cargo ship crew arriving in Auckland from overseas ports are being told to stay on board their vessel to prevent the potential spread of Covid-19.AUCKLAND - JULY 12 2018:Freight ship in Ports of Auckland. its New Zealands largest commercial port handling more than NZ$20 billion of goods per year

Under alert level 1, crews at sea for more than 14 days who have not declared illness are allowed to disembark, but Ports of Auckland says that’s too risky without health checks. Photo: 123RF

Ports of Auckland banned general shore leave for all seafarers arriving in the city when the country went into lockdown.

Under official rules for alert level 1, crews at sea for more than 14 days who have not declared illness are allowed to disembark with no health checks required.

But port spokesperson Matt Ball said this was too risky and it had asked the Ministry of Health for an assurance health checks will be made.

“They can simply walk out into downtown Auckland. There are no health checks or anything like that.

“It’s part of the international rules around shipping and in normal times it’s perfectly fine but at times like this there is potential, we think, for illness to get across the border so we’ve taken steps in addition to the official advice to prevent that.”

Ball said about 10 cargo ships per week arrived in Auckland, each with up to 20 crew on board, and in the last week there had been several cases of crew members arriving and reporting illness.

There had been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 coming through the port via freighters.

But the fact that crew members were reporting illness showed there must be roots of transmission from another port, with the potential for the illness to incubate for a while and be passed on to crew mates, he said.

“We think this needs to be explored fully to make sure that this route is completely closed off.”

He said the port was waiting on further guidance from the ministry about conducting health checks.

Ports of Auckland banned shore leave for crew arriving from Covid-19 hotspots early this year, and a blanket ban has been in place since the country went into lockdown.

“It’s important for the welfare of these crew that they are allowed to go onshore as long as it’s safe and that’s what we’re concerned about.

“We want to make sure it’s safe for the crew and the community,” Ball said.