Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere proposes selling Ports of Auckland

Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere has proposed selling Ports of Auckland to a private company but keeping its waterfront land in public hands.

In his latest policy announcement, Tamihere today said the best way to future-proof the 77ha of prime waterfront land was to split the council-owned business from the land and go to market with the business.

Under his proposal, the new port owners would lease the land from council at a commercial rate for up to 25 years to develop an agreed exit strategy.

“The Ports must move, but exactly where it moves to will be part of ongoing discussions,” he said.

“But I have to give clarity and direction so we can all plan for the next 25 years.”

Mayor Phil Goff called his rival’s policy “bizarre”, saying it is the worst possible time to sell the port business when it has no clear future, nobody knows where it is going to move to and who will pay the cost of new infrastructure and relocation.

He was referring to a ports study set up by the Government to look at how the existing ports at Auckland, Marsden Point and Tauranga could be reconfigured to provide the best options for long-term growth.

The first of three progress reports from a working group in April suggested an inland port in west Auckland and a vehicle importing and servicing centre at Northport among a dozen potential transport investments to improve freight handling in the upper North Island.

The working group plans to report back to the Government in June with options and complete more detailed costings and recommendations in September.

“Who is going to buy the company when they don’t know where its operations will be in 10, 15, 25 years? It will be selling it at a bargain basement price,”Goff said.

Auckland Mayoral candidate John Tamihere. Photo / Dean Purcell
Auckland Mayoral candidate John Tamihere. Photo / Dean Purcell

Tamihere said a timely managed exit would open the Waitemata Harbour’s green footprint as well as provide a much-needed cash injection to ease ratepayers’ costs.

Other advantages would be to de-risk the costly relocation of the port, give council a financial stream from the leased land (council currently gets a dividend of about $50 million a year from the port), open up 77ha of land for ratepayers to decide its future, and establish a “transition fund” to support port workers into new jobs, he said.

Speaking to media about the policy, Tamihere did not know how much the port business could sell for, but suspected Ports of Tauranga will be “in boots and all” and interest would come form as far away as Singapore.

A Future Port Study commissioned by Auckland Council in 2016 found moving Ports of Auckland to a new “super port” in the Manukau Harbour or the Firth of Thames would cost $4 billion to $5.5b.

Tamihere said he has met major stakeholders, including port executives, the Maritime Union and transport groups to brief them on the policy. No one opposed it, he said.

He also raised the prospect of congestion charges for trucks using the port between working hours of 9am to 5pm to overcome “chronic ports traffic congestion”.

Imported cars lined up at the Ports of Auckland on the Captain Cook Wharf in front of Queens Wharf. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Imported cars lined up at the Ports of Auckland on the Captain Cook Wharf in front of Queens Wharf. Photo / Jason Oxenham

He said Auckland Transport forums and the major Ports carriers agree congestion is a major problem and are identifying ways to work through a self-regulatory system. Truckies will be in some difficulty initially but they get the transition, he said.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett said excluding heavy trucks from Auckland city between 9am and 5pm is lacking in strategy and planning, ridiculous and would have a negative impact on all New Zealanders.

“Mr Tamihere says the operations of the Ports of Auckland should move, but he has no idea where to. So, any move is many years away. In the interim, there seems to be this bizarre proposal to exclude heavy trucks from Auckland central business district (CBD) – where Ports of Auckland operates, between 9am and 5pm. He’s not sure what that truck exclusion will include.

“Why would you increase the costs of transporting goods in and out of New Zealand’s major city? This proposal would definitely add costs to all the goods in people’s lives that are transported by trucks – which is pretty much everything,” Leggett said.

Goff also slammed the idea of congestion charges during the day for trucks, saying the busiest time for truck movements was between 10am and 2pm outside of work hours.

“The policy is just not well thought out and totally counter-productive. It is making policy on the hoof,” he said.

Tamihere, who is mounting a serious challenge to Mayor Phil Goff’s bid for a second term, has already announced he will “shake up” the way council runs, turn Eden Park into the city’s main venue for sports and major events and sack the board of Auckland Transport.

Other mayoral candidates include businessman John Palino, who is standing for a third time, Joshua Love, John Lehmann and Craig Lord.

Lord has announced a policy to keep speedway at Western Springs and scrap plans to move cricket there. He also wants to make it easier for Eden Park to hold concerts.

Miller takes hands on role at KiwiRail

Former Toll head Greg Miller’s time as chair of KiwiRail is over – he’s moved across to become the company’s chief executive.

Acting chair Brian Corban says the appointment sends a strong signal as the company prepares for unprecedented growth and change, including replacing Interislander ferry fleet, the need for a major rolling stock replacement programme and new initiatives such as the reopening of the Napier to Wairoa line and an $80 million investment in tourism services.

He says Mr Miller an unrivalled set of global experience in supply chain, a history with rail, domestic transport expertise, and who has led companies through significant growth and transformation.

Mr Miller says the organisation is at a pivotal point with the support of the Government and the ability to make a once-in-a-generation difference to New Zealanders through easing congestion in cities, taking trucks off vulnerable roads, reducing carbon emissions and driving investments in regional economies.

Twyford won’t answer road building claims


: Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Finance Minister Grant Robertson with officials at last year's Infrastructure NZ Conference.

30 April 2019 By Richard Harman

Transport Minister Phil Twyford is not responding to arguments put forward yesterday by the country’s infrastructure industry calling for more road building to reduce road accidents.

A spokesperson for Twyford told POLITIK that the reports cited by Infrastructure New Zealand were at least two years old.

Therefore he would not respond.

And in Parliament, the Prime Minister said the Government’s focus was on making roads safer when she was asked by Opposition Leader Simon Bridges when a number of delayed road construction projects would go ahead.

But infrastructure New Zealand yesterday produced two reports which showed a much more complex background to New Zealand road deaths.

New Zealand’s road safety performance, as measured by road deaths, steadily improved from the 1980s right through until 2013.

A report produced in 2017 by Deloittes shows that the improvement was significant, with some 12,300 lives between 1990 to 2012 ‘saved’ due to the reduction in annual road deaths over these 22 years.

However, from 2013, the road toll began to turn, and after several decades of improvement, more people started dying each year.

In 2017, the Ministry of Transport contracted Deloitte Access Economics to investigate why safety had started to deteriorate.

They made two key findings: that economic activity and vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT)  were related and that for every one per cent increase in vehicle kilometres travelled there was a more than one per cent increase in crashes.

They also found that a one per cent increase in vehicle kilometres travelled was associated with an increase in the rate of serious injury crashes two point nine per cent and and fatal crashes one point nine per cent.

“This could be the result of changes in the nature of VKT (such as more travel on rural roads),” the report said.

And the report quoted New Zealand and overseas studies which showed that as employment increased so did vehicle kilometres travelled; in other words, there was more driving taking place when the economy was buoyant.

The report also found that an increase in motorbike registrations correlated with the increas4e in fatal smashes.

And the report quoted a Ministry of Transport study which showed that an analysis of overseas driver crashes found that approximately 77% were short-term visitors to New Zealand, between 2011 and 2015. The prevalence of overseas drivers involved in crashes also varied by region, with a quarter of all crashes in tourist areas on the South Island involving an overseas driver.

Infrastructure NZ CEO, Stephen Selwood, believes the report shows that there are too many cars on New Zealand roads.

“If we really want to lower the road toll we need to look at the volume of traffic (vehicle kilometres travelled, or VKTs) on New Zealand roads and whether these roads adequately provide for all users,” he said.

“The amount driven has increased substantially in recent years.

“Over a billion kilometres extra were travelled on our roads in 2017 versus 2016 – an increase of 5 per cent in just one year.

“We’re driving 13.3 per cent more than we did a decade ago.

“In the same ten year period, the length of sealed and unsealed road increased by 2 per cent.

“Many more vehicle kilometres travelled on roughly the same amount of road increases risk-taking.”

Selwood said that a priority for turning around New Zealand’s road toll must be to ensure investment in the road system was keeping pace with growth in traffic volumes.

“The current funding model requires fuel charges to cover the majority of transport spending, from walking and cycling to public transport, as well as our road network.

“Additionally, we expect investment in roads and rail to improve competitiveness, grow the economy, unlock land for housing, improve environmental outcomes and provide access to isolated communities.

“The system cannot cope. A complete overhaul of how and why we fund transport is required, not only to improve safety but to progress much broader economic, social and environmental objectives,” he said.

POLITIK referred his comments and the Deloitte report to Transport Minister Phil Twyford, but a spokesperson said he wouldn’t comment because the report was two years old.

Meanwhile, in Parliament Opposition Leader Simon Bridges asked the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, whether she thought  her Government was delivering “when not a single new road has been started under her Government?”

Ardern listed six roads that are to be started by the Government.

“But the thing is, under the context of road safety issues, I think the issue I’d rather highlight is that between 2013 and 2018, the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads increased by 55 per cent, and yet that Government did not change their spending plans and put them into road safety,” she said.

“The signals were all there, which is why we’re investing a record $1.4 billion over three years to upgrade over 1,500 kilometres of our most dangerous roads. If that member is only interested in new roads rather than safe roads, then I can’t help him.”

Selwood would argue that National’s policy was the way to reduce road fatalities, but he does have a vested interest. Infrastructure NZ represents the companies that build and maintain roads.

However, his view, while it will be rejected by the Greens, is likely to be shared by NZ First.

But whether they have the clout to change the Government’s track on road building is doubtful which maybe explains why NZ Infrastructure is keen to get a debate going.

Fear of fire sparks call for stricter policing of dangerous goods on inter island ferries

Trucks carrying dangerous goods on inter island ferries can expect more scrutiny following complaints from the Shipping Federation about sloppy safety practices.
SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF Trucks carrying dangerous goods on inter island ferries can expect more scrutiny following complaints from the Shipping Federation about sloppy safety practices.

Fears that dangerous goods could cause fires on inter island ferries have prompted the Shipping Federation to lobby for stricter policing of transport operators. 

Federation chief executive Annabel Young said ferry companies were concerned about trucks carrying undeclared or incorrectly labelled dangerous goods.

Some truckies were caught attempting to take undisclosed dangerous goods on regular sailings, instead of catching early morning freight runs which carry fewer passengers, but allow cargo deemed higher risk. 

Young said ferry operators came across problems with dangerous goods by chance and were worried about what else they were missing through lack of pre-boarding inspections. 

“We’ve complained about it for years, finally it was getting to the point where we’re thinking that this is really serious and we’re sick of being brushed off, so we’ve escalated it.”

The Shipping Federation is concerned trucks carting dangerous goods have attempted to board regular sailings instead of special early morning freight runs which carry few passengers.
ALAN O’BRIEN/STUFF The Shipping Federation is concerned trucks carting dangerous goods have attempted to board regular sailings instead of special early morning freight runs which carry few passengers.

Following recent meetings with the NZ Transport Agency, Maritime New Zealand, WorkSafe and the Environmental Protection Agency, Young said KiwiRail, which runs InterIslander services, and Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferries agreed to report any dangerous goods issues to the agencies. 

She was aware of at least half a dozen reports over the past month – “enough incidents to be severely troubled” – and it appeared some dispatchers were not properly trained in dangerous goods documentation. 

“The ship’s master has the right to rely on the shipping documents provided by the trucking company.

“Some things have to be on the top deck because they cannot be in an enclosed space, some things can’t be put next to each other. 

“A simple example is a trailer load of hay which can spontaneously combust, so you don’t want to put that next to volatile gases.”

Inter island ferries have limits on dangerous goods such as corrosives, flammable liquids and solids, gases and toxic substances.
SUPPLIED Inter island ferries have limits on dangerous goods such as corrosives, flammable liquids and solids, gases and toxic substances.

Local ferry operators were also mindful of the number of fires on roll-on roll-off ferry vehicle decks overseas, said Young. 

In a recent article on its website, international transport industry insurer TT CLub said it was estimated that a major container ship fire at sea occurred on average every 60 days, and there had already been four major cargo-related fires this year.

TT Club said its records indicated that 66 per cent of incidents related to cargo damage could be attributed to poor practice in the overall packing process, including cargo identification, declaration, and documentation. 

Interislander general manager operations Mark Thompson said KiwiRail staff checked paperwork before loading to ensure it matched what was declared when the booking was made.

“If discrepancies are found by our terminal staff or ship crew, we will not carry the freight until it is corrected and we’re satisfied that it complies. This means that on occasion, we do reject cargo from sailings.”

KiwiRail decided about a year ago that it would no longer carry class one explosives on rail or its ships –  with the exception of small ammunition –  because restrictions around transport of these items made it costly and disruptive, and the amount being carried was steadily declining, said Thompson.

He was unaware of any serious incident in recent history resulting from carriage of dangerous goods on InterIslander vessels, but said he would support any move to improve enforcement of the regulations. 

Police acting national manager road policing inspector Peter McKennie said that as a result of concerns raised, police were paying additional attention to the transporting of dangerous goods which posed potential safety risks on the ferries and on the road network in general.

“Police have always carried out random safety checks on commercial vehicles, including  dangerous goods carriage compliance. This is conducted anywhere on the road network, not just at ferry terminals. We do not have a permanent presence at ferry terminals.”

Following an approach from the Shipping Federation, the Transport Forum reminded its members that drivers needed appropriate dangerous goods endorsements on their licences, and chief executive Nick Leggett said they also had to ensure their paperwork was in order. 

“Our message to our members is that  [spot checks] are very likely to happen more frequently and that they should comply with the law and do what is right.”

Mainfreight​ group managing director Don Braid said their Chemcouriers​ business moved a lot of dangerous goods and he had no concerns about increased inspections before trucks embarked on ferries.

“If it catches out those that are disobeying the laws, then so be it.”

Rail-centric view does Northland no favours

“The Upper North Island Supply Chain Study has focussed solely on rail and this does Northland no favours,” says Annabel Young, Executive Director of the NZ Shipping Federation, talking about the Interim Progress Report of the study group. “Their rail-centric view has blinded them to the opportunities available to Northport that are not dependent on rail.”

A dry dock in Whangarei would be a win-win for both the city and New Zealand as a whole; but in the interim report it gets a scant one-line mention. The lack of a dry dock is hurting this country due to the environmental and financial costs that have to be incurred when our coastal shipping operators are required to dry dock their vessels off-shore in Singapore or Australia. There are already cases where overseas ships are avoiding New Zealand due to the toxic combination of high biosecurity cleanliness requirements for a vessels hull and secondly, the inability to clean a ship in a dock that does not fit in the Devonport dry dock.

We note that the interim study assumes that cargo landed in Northport would need to be moved by rail which ignores the obvious possibility of movement by sea, as is done now in many other parts of the world using smaller domestic coastal ships and barges.

This first report sets up a paradigm where rail is deemed to be the only answer. The Federation believes it may be asking the wrong questions.


The New Zealand Shipping Federation began in 1906 and is the key representative body for New Zealand’s coastal ship operators.

Government approach on roading as bad as Kiwibuild, Simon Bridges says after horror month of crashes

Following a spate of resignations and a halt to major road building, National Party Leader Simon Bridges is calling out the Government for the state of New Zealand’s transport system.

After an horrific crash in Taupō yesterday in which eight people died, Mr Bridges called on the Government to improve roading for safety.

Mr Bridges told TVNZ1’s Breakfast today Labour had not built any roads since being in Government, and said they had “skewed” wrongly the previous work put into the sector.

“People go on about Kiwibuild and, you know, they should – it’s an absolute fiasco – but what’s happening in transport is every bit as bad.”

The New Zealand Transport Agency, which is the Government’s arm in making decisions about New Zealand’s roads and transport, is in “complete disarray”,” Mr Bridges said.

“Anyone who’s anyone has resigned in the last few months, you’ve got serious staff retention issues – what all of this means though is you’ve got nothing happening, you’ve got no plan.

“Not a single new road built under Labour so there’s no plan, no action. What would I do? I’d get back into it,” he said. “I’d make sure National was a party of infrastructure across housing and transport.Head-on collision near Taupō leaves eight dead, only one survivorPlay Video01:54The two vehicles collided in Atiamuri, leaving a scene of utter devastation. Source: 1 NEWS

“I think most New Zealanders would say you need good, strong highways and a roading network and we need to do more on that.”

“When you think about safety you’ve got the people factor, it’s the technology, it’s the cars, and it is the roads. I think the one where you can make the most gains is fixing the roads.”

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter says the Government is working to make the roads safer and improve the safety of vehicles, but drivers also needed to be responsible.

Top management axed from transport agency before chair quit

A massive clear out of top NZTA management occurred under the watch of chairperson Michael Stiassny, who is quitting early, says Transport Forum head Nick Leggett.

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NZTA chairperson Michael Stiassny has quit one year into his three-year contract. Photo: Vector

Mr Stiassny was brought in to shake up the New Zealand Transport Agency after major failings, but has quit one year into his three-year contract.

Mr Leggett said Mr Stiassny was “clearly brought in to disrupt”.

“We always felt there would then be a transition to someone who could bring the agency and the pieces back together, to a new normal if you like,” Mr Leggett said.

Huge risks remained, he said.

“I would certainly say the road transport industry is nervous, we’re incredibly nervous about where things are at.

“But we would certainly see this as a step towards progress of getting things back on an even keel.”

Mr Leggett said he was “optimistic” that NZTA was now focused on safety as its primary responsibility.

Mr Stiassny said after just one year, he had already done the job he came to do, shifting the transport agency to focus on public safety.

His resignation comes six months after revelations NZTA had not been properly checking up on companies which certify vehicle safety and give out licences.

Mr Stiassny oversaw a review, which led to 300 enforcement actions and the recall of more than 45,000 vehicles, which may have been wrongly issued warrants of fitness.

National’s transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said Mr Stiassny’s resignation showed the government was struggling to get the agency under control.

When asked whether the previous government should bear some responsibility for the regulatory failings of NZTA, Mr Goldsmith noted the agency was “independent”.

“There was absolutely work to do in terms of regulatory responsibilities of the agency, and that work had to be done,” Mr Goldsmith said.

“But there was also an enormous amount of change right across the organisation, with very large turnover.”

The transport agency was in “a state of internal chaos” and that was adding to the lack of progress that commuters and motorists saw every day, Mr Goldsmith said.

Regional road funding had been cut, and there had been inaction and instability over the past 18 months, he said.

West Auckland ‘inland port’ among new transport options

NorthPort today. Photo / File.
NorthPort today. Photo / File.

BusinessDesk By: Gavin Evans

An inland port in west Auckland and a vehicle importing and servicing centre at Northport are among a dozen potential transport investments a working group is considering to improve freight handling in the upper North Island.

The group, formed last year, has spent the past eight months talking with users and imagining how the existing ports at Auckland, Marsden Point and Tauranga – and the road and rail links between them – could be reconfigured to provide the best options for long-term growth.

It plans to report back to the government in June with options and complete more detailed costings and recommendations in September.

“There are a large number of infrastructure options that may have a part or full place to play in changes to the upper North Island supply chain which will be considered,” chair Wayne Brown says in a progress report filed with Cabinet’s Economic Development Committee earlier this month.

“For example, in evaluating one of our options that involves moving some of Ports of Auckland’s freight task to Northport, we will consider potential infrastructure that may be required to support this,” the group says.

They include: “a spur to Northport, which we understand the current government is investigating; upgrades to the existing North Auckland Line; potential short-term operational changes, such as moving freight through Auckland on the commuter network at night; potential long-term new infrastructure requirements such as a new rail line out west of Auckland to avoid congestion in the Auckland public transport rail network and connect through to the current inland freight terminals; and the potential establishment of new inland freight terminals.”

The Upper North Island Supply Chain study was the result of a pre-election pledge by NZ First to move container operation from Ports of Auckland to Northport by 2027.

While there is broad consensus that Auckland’s port will be increasingly constrained by the city’s development around it, there is no agreement as to how soon change is needed, how much freight could be redirected through Tauranga or Northport, and how that would be achieved.

As recently as 2016 a study group recommended work start assessing Manukau Harbour or the Firth of Thames as long-term replacement options for Auckland. Last August, Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said there wasn’t yet sufficient freight volume in Northland to warrant the relocation north. Port of Tauranga owns half of Northport.

Auckland and Tauranga are the country’s two largest container ports. With Northport, they handle about half the country’s exports and two-thirds of its import volumes.

Tauranga and Auckland, controlled by Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Auckland Council respectively, compete for freight. They considered a merger in 2006 but talks collapsed the following year. Ports of Auckland has a 20 percent stake in Northland Regional Council-controlled Marsden Maritime Holdings, Tauranga’s partner in Northport.

The working group noted submitters’ views that the “interwoven” nature of the three ports’ ownership had prevented them being developed in New Zealand’s best interests and had resulted in some inefficiencies and “duplication” of resources.

“We will be considering the current ownership structure of ports and whether a change may be needed to ensure interests are aligned to deliver the best outcome for New Zealand,” the group says.

“Councils were somewhat open to a change in port ownership as long as they preserved their income and value of the port to their community.”

Ports are long-term businesses. The working group is canvassing issues in 10-, 25- and 50-year timeframes.

Scope is also important. Freight operators argue Northport, west of the Marsden Point oil refinery, could meet growth on Auckland’s North Shore, rather than replacing Ports of Auckland entirely.

Short-term options could include establishing a distribution centre at Silverdale or Orewa; imports and Northland products could be trucked there overnight – avoiding congestion on SH1 – for day-time delivery into Auckland.

Northport already plays a similar role. Structural components for some major Auckland building projects are stored there for just-in-time delivery to avoid congestion in the CBD.

Car imports have already been identified as a potential early change. Ten hectares of new space at Northport could provide storage for 10,000 cars. Auckland currently receives about 300,000 cars annually, each of which spends close to three days on its wharves.

Northport started operating in 2002 and is largely a blank canvas. Its 49-hectare footprint can be expanded to 75 ha, while its berth length can be more than doubled to 1,390 metres. The port lies next to 180 ha of commercial and industrial land controlled by shareholder Marsden Maritime.

But it has limited capital for development and no rail link. KiwiRail and the Ministry of Transport are investigating a $200 million, 20-kilometre spur line, but that is probably more than six years away even if there was a prompt decision to proceed.

The existing line from Swanson to Fonterra’s Kauri dairy plant north of Whangarei also needs upgrading at a cost of another $500 million to carry larger and heavier container traffic. KiwiRail has previously estimated the total bill – including upgrading rail capacity from South Auckland – at about $2 billion.

The working group noted its “fundamental” belief that there is “no point making further investment in Northport without investment in, and development of, the train line to Auckland.”

Procurement process for new Interislander ferries kicks off

The Aratere carries 600 passengers. The Interislander's new ferries will carry 1800 passengers as well as 40 rail wagons.
RICKY WILSON/STUFFThe Aratere carries 600 passengers. The Interislander’s new ferries will carry 1800 passengers as well as 40 rail wagons.

Interislander ferry operator KiwiRail is officially on the hunt for two new vessels that will dwarf its existing fleet.

The vessels, expected to be brought into service by 2024, will need to accommodate 40 rail wagons, about 3000 lane metres for vehicles, and room for about 1800 passengers each, according to tender documents.

The two new ships would be able to transport 1100 more passengers a day than the three currently traversing the Cook Strait, which have the capacity for 2500 travellers. 

The Aratere can hold 600 passengers, the Kaiarahi has room for 550, and the Kaitaki can carry 1350 passengers. 

The project, referred to as the Inter-Island Resilient Connection Project, or iReX, would also see port services upgraded to “align with the design of the new ships”. 

KiwiRail said the ships would need to be designed to ensure high levels of reliability and allow for “a one-hour turnaround time during peak periods”. 

The company said its target was to select a preferred ship supplier by the end of 2020.

Walter Rushbrooke, general manager of Strategic Projects at KiwiRail, said the ships would be built overseas as New Zealand did not have the capability to build large ferry vessels.

“The new ships also mean changes to the terminals at both ends of Cook Strait and we are already working with the Port Companies in Wellington and Picton on designs and delivery pathways.”

The timeline on tender documents falls two years short of a recent report to Greater Wellington Regional Council’s regional strategy committee that said Interislander – planned “to purchase and operate new larger vessels on the Cook Strait”, and were “scheduled to arrive in 2022”.

A KiwiRail spokeswoman said, when the report was made public in November last year, no timeline had been set and no decisions had been made on the roll out of a new fleet. 

But in January the company announced its plans to introduce two new rail-ready ships in 2024

KiwiRail acting chief executive Todd Moyle said the company would start the process of procuring the new vessels, and establishing their cost and changes to terminal infrastructure in 2020.

But it only took the company three months to get the ball rolling, with an “advance notice of opportunity” sent out last week through the Government’s procurement service. 

Moyle said the shift from three ships to two would also mean a loss of crew jobs. 

In October  he said all three of its ferries – Aratere, Kaiarahi, and Kaitaki – were nearing the end of their lives.

KiwiRail needed new ships “built for our specifications and requirements”, Moyle wrote in a Stuff opinion piece.

With passenger levels expected to reach 1.7 million a year by 2025, it’s clear KiwiRail’s new fleet would need to be bigger.

Passenger numbers were about 1 million in 2010.