NotPetya cyber attack forcing hand written communication with NZ ports

Danish shipping company Moller-Maersk’s New Zealand arm has broken silence as its phone systems restore amidst the fall out of a global cyber attack slowing import operations.

Maersk Australia and New Zealand managing director Gerard Morrison said on Thursday afternoon that its phone and email systems had been deliberately shut down by the company to stop the spreading of the malware virus, dubbed NotPetya, that hacked its computers in Europe on Tuesday night.

All of its systems except its phone lines remained down, relaying an “enormous” impact to ports across the globe, he said.

Ports of Auckland was among the first to admit its operations had been affected by Maersk's entire system shutting down.

BEVAN READ/FAIRFAX NZ
Ports of Auckland was among the first to admit its operations had been affected by Maersk’s entire system shutting down.

Morrison said its New Zealand staff had been keeping operations going manually, using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and hand written information to tell Port of Auckland and Port of Tauranga what to do with the cargo that needed to be unloaded off its ships.

This had slowed the arrival of imports but it was too early to tell how long the delay would be for businesses to receive their incoming goods, he said.

Shipping giant Maersk is one of the big names that has fallen victim to a huge ransomware attack.

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER/FAIRFAX NZ
Shipping giant Maersk is one of the big names that has fallen victim to a huge ransomware attack.

Morrison said staff at its Auckland office were overwhelmed with support from hundreds of its nearby clients that offered phone lines, internet connections and office space.

Port of Tauranga (POT) said late Thursday morning that it currently had one Maersk ship docked but it faced no issues or delays in unloading.

POT commercial manager Leonard Sampson said it was “business as usual” at the site as it continued to communicate with Maersk through an “alternative method”, suggestively an external Gmail account set up by Maersk to speak with its clients.

Mainfreight managing director Don Braid says its IT systems were safe but it was struggling to communicate with shipping ...

CHRIS GORMAN/FAIRFAX NZ
Mainfreight managing director Don Braid says its IT systems were safe but it was struggling to communicate with shipping giant Maersk.

Ports of Auckland (POA) spokesman Matt Ball said the first ship carrying Maersk containers since the cyber attack was due to arrive at the port on Friday.

Ball said its port operations were already suffering the fallout from Maersk’s IT systems shutting down because most of its mutual information was shared digitally.

POA confirmed on Wednesday that it was receiving information about the imported cargo from Maersk manually through a Gmail account.

Customers awaiting mail sent by FedEx courier subsidiary TNT Express will experience delays, the company announces.

MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS
Customers awaiting mail sent by FedEx courier subsidiary TNT Express will experience delays, the company announces.

“Maersk have no means of receiving load lists, discharge lists, or instructions for cargo release. They have even closed down their email servers and are communicating via Gmail.”

Multinational freight company Mainfreight also said its export and import operations in New Zealand had been affected.

Mainfreight managing director Don Braid said that it was one of hundreds of companies suffering from the communication issue.

A statement released by Mainfreight on Wednesday said it could not book cargo with Maersk nor retrieve or export freight on vessels that were operated by APM Terminals, a subsidiary of Maersk.

Braid said: “The big issue will be when the ships come into the ports.”

​Maersk’s Morrison said it was now able to accept some cargo bookings through platform INTTRA but was working on creating a manual booking process that would be available to New Zealand clients on Friday morning.

Kotahi Logistics, which manages shipping logistics for Fonterra, chief executive David Ross said on Thursday afternoon that it was pleased with Maersk’s communication efforts and expected “minimal disruption” to its cargo flow.

Kiwirail spokeswoman Sarah Stuart said on Thursday morning that its operations had not been affected despite having Maersk as a client.

Courier company TNT Express said in a statement on Thursday that its mail services would be delayed but when contacted it could not say how that would affect New Zealanders awaiting deliveries.

The FedEx​ subsidiary, which operates in New Zealand, said in a statement released late on Thursday morning: “Like many other companies and institutions around the world, we are experiencing interference with some of our systems within the TNT network.”

The cyber attack has led to congestion at some of the 76 ports run by its APM Terminals unit, including in the United States, India, Spain and the Netherlands as well as New Zealand. The company handles one out of seven containers shipped worldwide.

New Zealand’s government cyber safety authority, Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert NZ), continued to report on Thursday morning that it had not received any reports of infections from the malware – dubbed both Petya and NotPetya.

​It mainly affected  Ukraine, but also hit a swag of multinational firms.

While Maersk has been the big worry because of the knock-on effect on supply chains, Cadbury owner Mondelez, law firm DLA Piper and advertising giant WPP were also victims of NotPetya.

Symantec cyber security manager Nick Savvides said on Wednesday that the malware attack was similar to the WannaCry ransomware attack that affected Windows computer users last month.

However, there is growing speculation NotPetya was not designed to make money but instead to do economic damage.

The malware spreads automatically through company networks once one machine is compromised, but appears not to be programmed to automatically leap from one organisation to another.

Instead, the attack appears to have been “seeded” by an infected update to Ukrainian accounting software service MeDoc, and possibly by phishing emails.

 – Stuff

Global cyber attack affects New Zealand

Local arms of global companies are shutting down operations as a precaution against a worldwide ransomware attack.

A laptop displays a message after being infected by the NotPetya ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack.

A laptop displays a message after being infected by ransomware as part of this week’s worldwide cyberattack. Photo: AFP

The ransomware virus cripples computers running Microsoft Corp’s Windows by encrypting hard drives and overwriting files, then demands $US300 in bitcoin payments to restore access.

It includes code known as Eternal Blue, which cyber security experts widely believe was stolen from the US National Security Agency and was also used in last month’s ransomware attack, named WannaCry.

A major international law firm, DLA Piper, has shut down its New Zealand office among others because of the attack.

DLA Piper said its office was having trouble getting external emails but all client data was secure.

DLA Piper told its Australian employees it had been the victim of a “major cyber incident” overnight.

View image on Twitter

Its Washington DC office was apparently affected, and DLA told Australian staff via text early this morning that all IT systems had been taken down to contain the situation.

The company said it was was unlikely IT systems in the Asia-Pacific region would be fully restored during the day, the ABC reported.

Maersk New Zealand managing director Gerard Morrison said local IT systems that were part of the shipping company’s global system were largely out of action, and customers could be affected at least until tomorrow.

The market research firm Colmar Brunton has also shut down operations as a precaution since its British parent company was attacked.

The Cadbury chocolate factory in Hobart has also been targeted, the ABC reported.

A hand enters account details on a laptop (file)

New Zealanders worried about the global cyber attack have been told to back up their systems and store files outside their network Photo: TEK IMAGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / ABO / Science Photo Library

A union official said production at Cadbury’s Claremont facility was halted when the computer system went down about 9.30pm yesterday in what was described as a “cyber attack”.

It was understood cyber attackers were demanding a ransom in bitcoin currency, the ABC said.

Cadbury owner Mondelez International had said its staff in different regions were experiencing technical problems, Reuters reported.

Mondelez said some of its New Zealand systems were affected but production in Dunedin was unchanged.

A terminal operated by the shipping giant Moller-Maersk at India’s biggest container port had to shut down its computer systems because of the attack.

The facility, called Gateway Terminal India, was unable to identify which shipment belonged to whom.

The major global cyber attack, dubbed GoldenEye or Petya, has disrupted servers at Russia’s biggest oil company and Ukraine’s international airport.

Russian oil company Rosneft said its systems had suffered “serious consequences” but production had not been affected because it switched over to backup systems. Maersk reported outages at facilities including its Los Angeles terminal. WPP, the world’s largest advertising agency, said it was also infected.

Russia and Ukraine were most affected, with other victims spread across countries including the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland.

Banks in the Ukraine were hit by the malware. This banking machine in Kiev was unable to dispense cash "for technical reasons".

Several banks were hit in Ukraine, one of the worst affected countries. This banking machine in Kiev was unable to dispense cash. Photo: AFP

Cyber crime reporter Kim Zetter said once the malware got into a system administrator it could spread to all parts of an international company’s network.

New Zealand’s cyber emergency response authority, Cert NZ, advised people to back up their systems and store files outside their network. If the ransomware did hit, people should turn off their computer, and not turn it on again, as an IT specialist may be able to recover the files.

Nick Savvides, strategist at security firm Symantec, said New Zealand was not immune to the fast-growing area of cyber crime.

“It’s attracting more and more criminals and more and more unsophisticated criminals who go and buy ransomware toolkits on the black market and try their hand at making money.”

The ransomware was not hugely sophisticated but had spread quickly because companies hadn’t protected their systems against it, he said.

– RNZ / ABC / Reuters

Auckland port’s big crane move

Partial automation of Ports of Auckland’s Fergusson Container Terminal was announced earlier this year and will be a game-changer for the port, ensuring extra terminal capacity without reclamation, says CEO Tony Gibson.

The technology will allow the port to handle up to 1.7 million TEU each year (one TEU is the equivalent of a 20ft container), enough to support an Auckland population of around 2.7 million. Future technology will give the port additional capacity to serve a regional population of 5 million – more than three times the current population.

Fergusson Container Terminal has five cranes, and to ready the terminal for bigger ships and automation, the cranes had to be rearranged. The two older, smaller cranes were lifted off their rails in May so the three newer, larger cranes could be positioned at the north end of the terminal, where they will be able to work bigger ships. This massive job was done in between customers at the busy terminal.

Mr Gibson has paid tribute to the company’s highly skilled engineering team who worked closely with crane manufacturing company ZPMC to carry out the project. “We run a very busy terminal, so getting this job done quickly and with minimum disruption to shipping was essential. It’s a bit like doing knee surgery at half-time and then getting your player back on the field for the second half,” he says.

The relocation means that the cranes are now positioned well to work on the bigger ships calling at Auckland’s port. This means a more efficient container terminal and a port that can cater to Auckland’s growing freight demand.

“More people in Auckland means more imports and more shipping. This work is one part of our investment in the automation of our container terminal which will meet that growing demand,” says Mr Gibson. “This phase of automation gives us enough capacity to handle the freight for an extra million people in Auckland – that’s 30 to 40 years of capacity.”

To watch a video of the crane relocation, click here

Harbour dredging consent brings long term certainty for Port Otago

Granting of a 25-year maintenance dredging and disposal consent for the Otago Harbour channel will allow Port Otago to cater for increasingly bigger ships on the New Zealand coast.

Geoff Plunket, outgoing Port Otago Chief Executive, said the latest dredging consent, granted by the Environment Court earlier this month, puts in place all the necessary consents required for maintenance and development dredging for the next 20-25 years.

Port Otago also recently secured a 20-year consent to deepen the channel to 15m, an integral part of the company’s Next Generation programme.
Mr Plunket said the original process had commenced in 2009 with the application to deepen the shipping channel to Port Chalmers. “This successful outcome serves to again underline the importance of positive community engagement and a willingness to adopt an environmentally responsible approach to dredging and disposal activities.

“The ability to deepen and maintain the shipping channel in Otago Harbour over the next 20 to 25 years means Port Otago can confidently meet the challenge of bigger ships on the New Zealand coast. It can do this in an environmentally appropriate manner, with the support of the local community and backed by sound science.”

Key points –
Dredging in Otago Harbour has been taking place since 1865 and is essential to counteracting the natural tendency for the channel to in-fill
Capital dredging for the Next Generation project has required a new off-shore disposal site in addition to the three disposal grounds for inshore dredging, including Heywards, Aramoana, and Shelly Beach
Disposal of dredge spoil to these three sites is an effective by-passing system for the sediment from south of Otago Peninsula trapped by the entrance channel and an efficient source of nourishment for the beaches adjacent to the sites and for beaches further north along the coast of Blueskin Bay
Consent was originally granted in February 2017. POL appealed one consent condition on the dredge plant size. ORC accepted the appeal and recommended that consent be granted by the Environment Court.

World’s largest container ship OOCL Hong Kong makes maiden call at Port of Felixstowe

The world’s largest container ship, the 21,413 TEU OOCL Hong Kong, has made its maiden call at Hutchison Ports’ Port of Felixstowe. The call represented a double celebration as it also marked the return of OOCL to the UK’s largest container port after a 17 year absence.

Commenting on the two events, Clemence Cheng, CEO of the Port of Felixstowe and Managing Director of Hutchison Ports Europe, said: “The OOCL Hong Kong is the latest in a line of mega vessels to call at the Port of Felixstowe. The port’s location close to the main shipping lanes and the ports of Northern Europe, combined with a unique combination of road and rail connections, makes it the first choice for the latest generation of giant container ships.

“Our relationship with OOCL goes back 40 years and we are delighted to welcome them back to the Port of Felixstowe as part of the Ocean Alliance. We are honoured to have been chosen as the main UK hub for the Ocean Alliance and look forward to continuing to work with OOCL and the other alliance partners to provide the best possible service to UK importers and exporters.”

Richard Hew, Managing Director of OOCL, added: “We are very delighted by the warm welcome that the OOCL Hong Kong received from the Port of Felixstowe community. We truly look forward to working more closely with our customers, business partners and with the port community in developing our synergies for growth.”

The 210,890 gt vessel was built at Samsung Heavy Industries’ (SHI) shipyard in Geoje, South Korea. Measuring 400m-long and 58.8m-wide, the OOCL Hong Kong serves the Asia-Europe trade lane as part of OOCL’s LL1 service. The Ocean Alliance consists of OOCL, CMA CGM, Cosco Shipping and Evergreen Line.
Source: Port of Felixstowe

ONE set to become world’s fifth-largest box carrier

JAPANESE container line grouping Ocean Network Express is on course to start operations on April 1, 2018 and will become the world’s fifth-largest box carrier — and potentially a more dominant influence within shipping consortium The Alliance — if the current containership orderbook remains unchanged, according to Drewry.

 

The container shipping analyst said carrier consolidation was “moving apace” with the merger of the three Japanese container lines, noting that the opportunities for further mergers and acquisitions among the top-20 carriers “receding with each new deal”. Nevertheless, Drewry said that a second wave involving medium-size carriers would follow soon, creating a market “with fewer carriers that in time will become financially stronger”.

 

When ONE becomes operational, it will be the world’s sixth-largest carrier when measured by containership fleet with close to 1.4m teu, giving it a market share of approximately 7% based on today’s fleet, according to Drewry. Assuming no changes to the orderbook — in terms of new orders or delivery delays — by 2021, it would leapfrog Hapag-Lloyd to become the fifth-largest carrier, the analyst added.

 

Under the terms of the joint venture agreement — covering only the three companies’ containership activities and non-Japanese terminals — NYK will be the largest shareholder with 38%, while MOL and K Line will both have 31%. The distribution reflects NYK’s greater number of owned ships (active and on order) and terminals (10) that it is putting into the JV, Drewry noted.

 

Between them, the ONE carriers have seen annual container sales diminish by around 20% since the 2014 peak of $20bn to $15.7bn in calendar-year 2016. Moreover, since 2015, the three lines had suffered some $1bn in collective operating losses from container operations, Drewry said.

 

The creation of ONE is in keeping with the rising trend of consolidation in the container industry, following on from recent M&A deals involving CMA CGM and APL, Cosco and CSCL, Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd, and Hapag-Lloyd with UASC, Drewry observed.

 

“As things stand in terms of active and ordered ships, by 2021 when all newbuildings in the system are due to have been delivered, the top five carriers will control a little under 60% of the world’s containership fleet,” it said. “Back in 2005, the same bracket of carriers held around 37%. Come 2021, the top 10 lines will control 80% (55% in 2005) while the three leading carriers in Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co and CMA CGM, will take about 42% (26% in 2005).”

 

Nevertheless, there is still room for even more consolidation, which would “very likely give even more control to the elite group at the top”, the analyst added.

 

“The opportunities for further M&A among Top 20 carriers are receding with each new deal, but there is still a high likelihood that a second wave involving medium-size carriers will follow soon. With fewer carriers that in time will become financially stronger, the pendulum is swinging back towards those that can stick it out.”

 

The “obvious consequence” of this would be that shippers had fewer options to choose from, Drewry said. “It is the unfortunate price that has to be paid for years of non-compensatory freight rates that have driven carriers to seek safety in numbers, either through bigger alliances and/or mergers and acquisitions.”

Swire Shipping changes in New Zealand and the Pacific

Lloyd’s List Australia

Photo: Swire Shipping general manager – commercial, Brodie Stevens; photo – Jim Wilson

 

SWIRE Shipping has instituted changes to its services in New Zealand and the Pacific, not the least of which centred around its NZ coastal routes after the Kaikoura earthquake put some logistics infrastructure in the country out of commission.

Swire Shipping general manager – commercial Brodie Stevens told Lloyd’s List Australia that Swire’s coastal arm, Pacifica Shipping, reported strong support in the coastal trades since the earthquake.

“With the rail link temporarily out of action and road capacity under pressure and relatively expensive for some commodities, coastal shipping has proven to be a reliable and sustainable mode,” he said.

“With rail expected to reintroduce services in the coming months, cargo will likely move towards the most sustainable mode in-line with service requirements. Pacifica expects ongoing support for their mode as customers build resilience and proven sustainability into their supply chain frameworks.”

Meanwhile, Swire’s Trans-Tasman Service is in for a change in the next month.

Mr Stevens said Swire had maintained its twice monthly (TRT) service on the Tasman despite challenging conditions, and recently announced changes that would see the service move to a “fixed day fortnightly” schedule.

“In New Zealand, the service will call at Auckland, Marsden Point and Tauranga and has ceased calls to Napier, Lyttelton and Nelson, which will now be serviced by transhipment on other Swire Shipping services,” he said.

“This enhanced service will retain the port calls in Port Kembla and Newcastle but will now include Melbourne and Sydney on a direct call basis with Geelong being serviced on inducement.”

The revised rotation is to be Auckland – Marsden Point – Tauranga – Melbourne – Port Kembla – Sydney – Newcastle – Auckland.

The first westbound sailing of the new service is due on June 25 out of Auckland with the Hong Kong-flagged Kokopo Chief (IMO 8907412), which is a fully cellular containership with a capacity of 725 TEU.

The first eastbound sailing will be from Melbourne on July 8, also with the Kokopo Chief.

Turning our attention north, towards the South Pacific, Swire increased its coverage into the Pacific Islands from North Asia.

“The line now offers up to six services a month from Asia to the Pacific together with services from USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe,” Mr Stevens said.

“Annually the line makes over 450 port calls in the South Pacific, excluding Australia and New Zealand.”

Last year, Swire established offices in Apia, Suva and Lautoka. This coincided with its establishment of a fortnightly service from Australia to Prony Bay, Noumea, Lautoka, Suva, Port Vila and Santo, with transhipment serving other Pacific Island ports.

The service deploys two geared CNCo-type Miho vessels with a nominal capacity of 981 TEU.

Mr Stevens said Swire was moving towards more independent operations in the South Pacific markets.

“Swire has invested in increased tonnage and this has improved its capability across the South Pacific in the multi-purpose, container and project shipping sector,” he said

Extending closure of Manawatu Gorge by at least three more weeks a blow to transport operators

Work is still been done to shore up slips and ensure the safety of the Manawatu Gorge before it reopens. Photo/SuppliedWork is still been done to shore up slips and ensure the safety of the Manawatu Gorge before it reopens. Photo/Supplied

Dannevirke bus company owner Derek Rose is hot under the collar after news the road through the Manawatu Gorge will remain closed for at least three more weeks.

The road has been closed since April 24 because of slips and a dropout and Mr Rose told the Dannevirke News he’s angry there’s been little information in the past week on the state of the road.

“It’s costing everyone and I’ve had enough,” he said. “This isn’t on and I’m not happy with how NZTA [New Zealand Transport Agency] have handled this. They don’t tell us what’s going on and week after week, all we hear is it’s still closed.”

Mr Rose runs two buses a day over the Saddle Rd and he said it’s tough on trucks and heavy vehicles.

“Cars don’t handle it too well either, I had to pull a car out of a drain this morning.”

The Transport Agency has said the road will remain closed while safety works and geotechnical assessments are completed.

Transport Agency highway manager Ross I’Anson said physical repairs, including the installation of new rockfall netting and the reinstatement of a damaged retaining wall, were on track to be completed by the end of this week as planned.

However, further geological assessments of the slip sites were needed to assess the level of potential risk of further slips or rockfalls before the road could be safely opened.

Tararua District mayor Tracey Collis said safety in the gorge was paramount.

“The significance of the slips is always a concern and a number of our residents have known people whose vehicles have been hit with falling rocks,” she said.

“They can be quite scary

“However, I know this wasn’t the news people were expecting and it won’t help the pain people are feeling and I want the NZTA to keep to this three-week date to give businesses a good opportunity to plan forward.”

Mrs Collis said she had travelled over the Saddle Rd and expressed her concern about the state of some parts of the road.

Once the gorge is open she wants work on the Saddle to be completed as soon as possible.

Mr I’Anson said the NZTA was working with its contractors and independent geotechnical engineers to complete the assessments as soon as possible. “But these evaluations must be thorough to ensure the road is safe when it is reopened,” he said.

“While the slips have been cleared and the road has been repaired at both sites, the slips have altered the rock faces above the road and we need to thoroughly assess any additional risks the newly exposed rock might pose for road users.

“The recent slips have resulted in new cracking in the rock faces on either side of the slips and we need to identify if there is a risk of additional rock falling on to the road and, most importantly, what additional work may be required to provide further protection for road users.

“The geology of the gorge is complex and these assessments must be very thorough to address that complexity.”

Mr I’Anson said it would not be known what, if any, additional work might be required until the geological assessments were completed, a process expected to take up to three weeks. “We understand how frustrating the current situation in the gorge is and we know the significant impact it is having for road users, businesses and residents, but the safety of road users is paramount.”

He said that in parallel with the geological assessments of the gorge slip sites, NZTA would be progressing with the detailed business case process to look at all of the options available to provide a long-term, resilient and safe connection through the Ruahine/Tararua Ranges.

“This is a very significant route which forms a strong link into the central freight hub of the Manawatu and provides vital connections for people in the region. The NZTA is focused on providing strong, resilient transport links that contribute to the region’s economic growth and prosperity,” he said.

Mrs Collis said she and other regional mayors would be pushing for a long-term solution.
“We will be making sure the gorge funding is a priority in regional and national transport plans.”

The New Zealand First deputy leader, Ron Mark, in Dannevirke yesterday morning for a breakfast meeting, said he didn’t understand why it was taking so long to come up with a solution to the continuing problems with the Manawatu Gorge.

“The gorge is the lifeblood connection for Tararua and it’s strategic for the nation,” he said. “After all the work which has been done and all the money poured into the gorge, we need solutions.”

Mr Mark said he believed a cut-and-cover option might be the best, but he’d also like to see a feasibility study on a tunnel.

“Connectivity is important for regional development and I look around at all the money being flicked into Auckland. The Government needs to be pushed like hell to put money into a final solution for the gorge.”

Meanwhile Mrs Collis has accepted an invitation to take a look in the gorge as soon as possible.

Hawkes Bay Today

Lower speeds to stay on alternative highway until State Highway 1 reopens

ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
Temporary speed reductions on the alternative highway will remain in place until SH1 is repaired. (file photo)
 Speed reductions on sections of the alternative route between Christchurch and Picton will remain in place until State Highway 1 is repaired.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) on Monday confirmed the temporary speed reductions, which were introduced after the SH6/63/65/7 route became the top of the South Island’s main trunk line following last November’s earthquake.

The changes were made because the alternative route is much more challenging to drive than the road it replaces, and traffic on the route has increased dramatically.

There has been a huge increase in heavy traffic on the alternate highway since the November earthquake.

FAIRFAX NZ
There has been a huge increase in heavy traffic on the alternate highway since the November earthquake.
 There have been five deaths on the road since the earthquake. The change in conditions has caused several longhaul truck drivers to quit, while one truck company has reduced speed limits for drivers.

The NZTA received nearly 300 submissions on the speed reduction proposal. The majority were in favour of lower speeds through townships on the route, but less positive about those sections of open road that had been reduced to 80kmh.

Though submissions supported lower speeds through townships, they were less positive about speed reductions on stretches ...

MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ
Though submissions supported lower speeds through townships, they were less positive about speed reductions on stretches of open road. (File photo)
 In a statement, NZTA regional relationships director Jim Harland said there was not high support for lower speeds at all sites, but reverting to pre-quake speeds would be irresponsible.

“However, once SH1 becomes fully operational and traffic volumes have reduced to a stable level we will review speed limits on the alternate route again. Ideally this would be within six months of SH1 reopening, but it will depend on traffic volumes.”

Harland said the submissions raised concerns about travel times and limited passing opportunities.

The alternative route will be the South Island's main road until SH1 is repaired, which is expected to be before Christmas.

ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
The alternative route will be the South Island’s main road until SH1 is repaired, which is expected to be before Christmas.
 “To date $1.5 million has been invested in slow vehicle bays and pull-over areas on the alternate route, and work is underway now to construct 20 more of these areas. However, in light of feedback, the Transport Agency will investigate whether more slow vehicle bays and pull-over areas could be built.”

He said the perception the lower speed limits had significantly increased travel time was incorrect, with the lower limits increasing travel time by less than two minutes between Christchurch and Picton.

The temporary limits were introduced under emergency legislation, which can only be in place for six months legally. A new bylaw replacing the temporary limits will be in place by June 18.

SH1 is expected to be reopened before Christmas.

Consultation also included proposals to lower speed limits on parts of the Lower Buller Gorge. These received low support, so will not be taken further.

 – Stuff

Record one million containers through Port of Tauranga in one year

The Port of Tauranga has set a new record after processing one million shipping containers in one year.

Chief executive Mark Cairns said the was a momentous occasion was reached on Tuesday last week.

“We are the first port in New Zealand to reach the milestone”.

”We have gone from a small, insignificant regional port to the largest port in New Zealand by a good margin.”

According to Statistics NZ, the Port of Tauranga was the largest port by volume in the country.

The Port of Tauranga had spent $350 million on a 10-year capital investment programme to enable it to become ”big ship” capable. The upgrade was beginning to pay dividends, Mr Cairns said.

”It has been a good year and a relief to get the dredging programme done as 6 million cubic metres of material was excavated off the sea floor. There is a lot of risks involved with earthmoving and even more when it’s under water.”

Ships that can hold 9,500 containers are coming into the Port weekly to load New Zealand export cargoes which are shipped directly to North Asia.

”They are double the size that was previously calling into New Zealand, and we are getting those ships sooner than we expected.”

”These shipping lines are only calling into Tauranga, and they aren’t calling into any other New Zealand or Australian Port with these large vessels.”

About 41 per cent of New Zealand’s total exports by value flowed through the Port of Tauranga, Mr Cairns said. The primary products included dairy, meat, forestry, paper, linea boards, pulp, kiwifruit,

At any one time, there would be more than 2000 people working at the port, which had increased along with the trade through the Port, Mr Cairns said.

In August the Port would also announce its financial results and estimates indicated the 2015/16, $79m profit would be surpassed.

”Our best estimate to the market is $79m to $83m, so we are confident we will have an increase in profitability that is matched in trade by hitting the million-containers cargo mark.”

Mr Cairns said he was looking forward to celebrating with customers and major stakeholders at a function on Tuesday.

Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said the port was ”an extremely important asset for the city’s economy”.

”Its strength is an important driver of business growth and a key competitive advantage in the attraction of new business to the city – we see that on a weekly basis.”

The success it had following its bold expansion programme shows investment for the future could pay dividends for the port and the wider region, he said.

”It also places us in an excellent position for the future.”

Businesses would also benefit by the bigger ships.

”Ships of that size offer local businesses excellent efficiency and time to market for their existing customers and access to new markets that they simply wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Tauranga City Council Mayor Greg Brownless said the port was well run and competitive.

Its impact on the region’s employment, directly and indirectly, was enormous and great for the community, he said.