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.

Japan to launch self-navigating cargo ships ’by 2025’


Japanese shipping companies are working with shipbuilders to develop self-piloting cargo ships.

The “smart ships” will use artificial intelligence to plot the safest, shortest, most fuel-efficient routes, and could be in service by 2025.

The AI will also be used to predict malfunctions and other problems, which could help reduce the number of maritime incidents.

The companies plan to build about 250 self-navigating ships.

Sharing data

Developing the technology is expected to cost tens of billions of yen (hundreds of millions of dollars).
Shipping firms Mitsui OSK Lines and Nippon Yusen are working with shipbuilders including Japan Marine United to share both costs and expertise, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

Nippon Yusen has already been working on technology to enable ships to use data to assess collision risks. It is also working with Norwegian maritime company DNV GL to collect and analyse data on vessel condition and performance.

Japan Marine has been developing a similar data analysis system with the aim of diagnosing breakdowns before they happen.


The first ships will retain a small crew to oversee certain operations, but there are plans to develop completely autonomous vessels in the future.

In 2016, Rolls-Royce announced plans to develop unmanned cargo ships, starting with remote-controlled vessels that could be operational as soon as 2020.

“This is happening. It’s not if, it’s when,” Rolls-Royce vice president of marine innovation Oskar Levander said at the time.

“We will see a remote-controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade.”

Navigation and basic operations will be automated, while a human “captain” based on shore will continue to look after “critical decision-making”.

Source (BBC):

Protesters blockading Tauranga Harbour

NZHerald 15 Jun, 2017 9:59am

A flotilla of boats is blocking the shipping lane of Tauranga Harbour.

In a statement, Ngai Te Rangi iwi said the protesters signalled to the port authorities they would not give way to any commercial vessel attempting to cross their lines.

The flotilla controller also signalled that recreational boats will not be impeded.

The protest was not aimed at the Port of Tauranga, the statement said, but aimed to assure the Prime Minister and Minister of Treaty Negotiations that Ngai Te Rangi would not accept any Crown deal giving rights to Tauranga Moana to a Hauraki collective of iwi and hapu.

In the statement, Ngai Te Rangi claimed Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson was pushing through a secret deal that would give those rights to the Hauraki iwi collective.

Further action was planned for Saturday June 17.

Ngai Te Rangi planned long term protests and is setting up a base camp on Matakana Island.

A reporter at Pilot Bay said a waka in the harbour had failed to stop a ship entering the port.

A spokesperson for Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Chris Finlayson told the Bay of Plenty Times there had been no secret deal.

“It is simply wrong. No secret deal has been made.”

The spokesperson said proposed arrangements for the Tauranga Moana Governance Group, part of the Tauranga Moana Framework, provided for four seats for Tauranga Moana iwi (this includes Ngai Te Rangi), one seat for iwi of Hauraki (and any other iwi with recognised interests in the Tauranga Moana catchment) and five seats for local government.

The Waitangi Tribunal confirmed in 2004 that iwi of Hauraki had customary interests in Tauranga Moana, particularly in the Te Puna and Katikati area, the spokesperson said.

“The Minister also understands there are rumours of a deed signing for Pare Hauraki. No date has been set for any such signing. Officials informed Tauranga iwi of that fact last week.”

The Hauraki Collective Redress Deed, which was initialled in December, is available to view online at

Nelson ships clear on smoke emissions despite pollution concerns

Container vessel 'Maersk Jalan' billows smoke into the atmosphere at Port Nelson while uploading containers back in May.

Braden Fastier/Fairfax NZ
Container vessel ‘Maersk Jalan’ billows smoke into the atmosphere at Port Nelson while uploading containers back in May.
 As the Government mulls whether to join an international agreement on marine air pollution, Nelson’s shipping authority says it has the issue well-monitored.

Port Nelson harbourmaster David Duncan said the port welcomed more than 800 vessel visits annually.

Duncan said while it had regulations in place to control marine pollution outside of the Resource Management Act, none were specifically targeted at the emissions from ships.

“There is nowhere currently in NZ legislation [that] this captured. However Port Nelson does monitor, and communicates to vessels, where we believe a discharge to air is excessive and expects issues to be remedied.”

Such occurrences were “very infrequent”, and any concerns had been promptly remedied, he said.

At a national level, the port also held regular discussions with the NZ Port Environmental Managers Forum.

Annex VI of the international agreement known as MARPOL covers the prevention of pollution from ships and came into force in 2005. However, New Zealand is not one of the 86 signatory nations.

Victoria University’s Dr Bevan Marten said in March the fact New Zealand was not a signatory, and its lack of action over air pollution from shipping, was “an international embarrassment.”

Marten said air quality monitoring in Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington suggested shipping was a key source of sulphur dioxide emissions. The burning of bunker fuel oil was a significant source of nitrogen oxides and fine particulates, which were known to be carcinogenic.

Duncan was reluctant to say whether or not NZ signing onto Annex VI would be a worthwhile undertaking.

“We do not believe it appropriate to comment … as this requires considerable investigation, consultation and operational change within the Transport and Shipping Industry.”

A 2012  report estimated that 95 per cent of harmful emissions in New Zealand were generated by sources such as domestic fires, motor vehicles, industry and open burning.

Ministry of Transport’s Gavin Middleton said work has begun to assess the implications including the costs and benefits of signing up to Annex VI.

“We are in the early stages of planning, but note that advice to government will be informed by a formal engagement process with interested stakeholders.”

According to the Ministry of Transport’s website, in 2011 New Zealand domestic shipping was responsible for producing 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

NZ shipping pollution lawsallowed discharge of contaminants that is “incidental to, or derived from, or generated” during specified operations of a ship, including heat exchange systems

Air discharges from ship exhausts are permitted under the Resource Management Act 1991 and regional plans cannot make rules that restrict these discharges.


 – Stuff

Mainfreight boss calls for national transport strategy

The country’s political leaders must up their game and deliver better long-term transport and infrastructure planning, according to the head of the country’s biggest freight company.

Train stuck between in a tunnel between slips.

A train is trapped in a tunnel between landslips after November’s Kaikōura earthquake. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Mainfreight managing director Don Braid said politicians – local and national – have failed to take the initiative to plan adequately for the future.

Mainfreight managing director Don Braid

Don Braid Photo: Supplied

“We have not reacted as a country to the increase in population growth and the tourism numbers, out infrastructure is poorly set up and government and councils are only just coming to grips to what they need to do,” he told RNZ.

Mr Braid said the transport network’s vulnerability was shown by the Kaikōura earthquake’s impact on road and rail links, and it was the revival of coastal shipping that minimised the disruption.

He said an example of the lack of investment in key services was the treatment of KiwiRail in the latest budget, with funding for new engines and other hardware limited to a two-year timeframe.

“We need to be planning 30 years out, and making investments early.

“Around the Cabinet table I think there’s an aversion to want to think about any sort of integrated transport philosophy for both freight and transport … but we need to be thinking more seriously about it.”

The comments come as a delegation of engineers in Beijing said China was the answer to Auckland’s transport problems.

Warren Hills of Babbage Consultants said New Zealand needed to tap into the expertise of the Chinese workforce, if it was to meet the demands of an unprecedented infrastructure building programme.

Has Auckland Transport found the answer to the city’s traffic problems?

Auckland Transport has joined forces with global technology giant Microsoft in a bid to make the gruelling daily commute a walk in the park.

With an estimated 800 new cars on Auckland’s roads every day and growing frustration at traffic jams, AT hopes the new system will allow it make real-time, informed decisions to improve travel for everyone.

The partnership aims for

• One nationwide payment method that can be used to for buses, ferries and trains.

• The same method to pay for bike lockers – a box in which a bike can be placed and locked in – at some bus and train stations.

• Up-to-date information on traffic delays and accidents using data from public transport users, traffic cameras, loops (sensors installed in the road to detect vehicles), counters for bikes on the road network, and realtime tracking of bus, train and ferry positions.

• Tailored information on the AT app which will tell commuters of delays and incidents and suggest alternative routes or travel methods.

AT’s chief technology officer Roger Jones said one of the main goals is to allow customers to make an informed decision about their best choice of transport on a daily basis, through the new AT Mobile app.

“The vision is, if you’re sitting at home in the morning wondering how you should get to work and you’re not sure if it’s going to rain or not or you’re not sure if things are running on time or not, the app will inform you about your best choice of transport… and the expected timeline.

“The real impact is people expect to be able to travel round the city quickly and efficiently and today a lot of people do that by cars. We will replace that over time with other modes of transport that will get them there just as efficiently and just quickly and cheaper.”

Jones said otherwise Aucklanders are “going to grind ourselves to a gridlock”.

He gave an example of someone catching a ferry and then a bus to get home at night but, because of bad weather, the ferry is running late.

“Do we hold the bus at the end and wait for the ferry connection or not?” he said.

“Currently that’s not managed so what we want to do is manage that because we will know from our customer database and the data we have, how many passengers we have on the ferry and how many of those passengers are likely to catch the bus.

“So we will be able to make informed decisions about making the bus stay and wait for those passenger ferries.”

The proposed changes are expected to be gradually rolled out over the next two to three years.

Jones said trials were also in progress of a system that would allow people to use one account for all forms of transport, nationwide.

“Ultimately where we want to get to is your transport is seamless, not only in Auckland but around the country, and your payment for that is seamless.”

Microsoft New Zealand’s chief digital advisor Mark Butterworth said AT will make travelling easier by using artificial intelligence based on information such as who the commuter is, where they are trying to go and what is happening on the network.

“One of the features we hope for is we can predict in advance what your journey will be across the modes so you can plan your days better.

“The way [AT] is engaging with customers and trying to make a digital city is certainly right on the edge of all the cities that [Microsoft] see around the world. So, we want to learn from Auckland and this experience in Auckland to help us help other customers,” said Butterworth.

Herald on Sunday

Western Belfast Bypass progress

The Western Belfast Bypass, a four-lane, 5-kilometre stretch of highway north of the city, was 80 per cent completed, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) said.

“Over 375,000 hours have been worked on this project so far and it is progressing well as this drone footage shows,” Christchurch highways manager Colin Knaggs said.

The $122 million Western Belfast Bypass project is set to be completed in early 2018. NZTA says it is now 80 per cent ...

 The $122 million Western Belfast Bypass project is set to be completed in early 2018. NZTA says it is now 80 per cent complete.
 The newest aerial footage of the $122-million project shows a 2km-long section that was largely out of public view during construction, Knaggs said.

“Aside from some road marking and other minor finishing touches, this section of the project is also close to being finished.”

The Dickeys Rd bridge under construction, as part of the Western Belfast Bypass programme.

 The Dickeys Rd bridge under construction, as part of the Western Belfast Bypass programme.
 Construction crews recently focused on three new bridges – over Groynes Dr, Dickeys Rd and an on-ramp that links Main North Rd and SH1 – which Knaggs said were close to completion.

“Before the project team could start building they had to carry out ground improvement work, constructing around 2400 columns of gravel and stone into the ground to make it denser,” he said.

“This reduces the effects of liquefaction and ensures the bridge embankments remain stable, preventing damage to the bridge structures during an earthquake.”

A further 30 steel-cased concrete piles, up to 20 metres deep, support each structure.

Once completed, in early 2018, NZTA forecast 24000 cars will use the bypass every day.

 – Stuff

A train that runs on virtual rails has been unveiled in China

Image result for Autonomous Rapid Transit (Art)The Autonomous Rapid Transit (Art), which was unveiled in the city of Zhuzhou on 2 June, is around 30 metres long and is fitted with sensors that detect the dimensions of the road. This enables the vehicle to follow routes without the need for metal rails, Feng Jianghua, a chief engineer behind the project, said according to

Each vehicle can hold up to 307 passengers, and is said to navigate the streets easier than a bus while being more adaptable than a train. It has a top speed of 70kmph.

The technology behind the Art was developed by Chinese railmaker CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive which also designs parts for the country’s high-speed railway.

The firm, which has been working on Art since 2013, hopes to roll out the train in 2018.

Instead of having steel wheels like a train, Art is fitted with rubber wheels attached to a plastic core which are linked to its especially designed guiding technology, The Paper.Cn reported.

Its creators say that Art is significantly cheaper than a metro service, which costs between 400 to 700millon yuan (£46 to £80million) per  km to build. In contrast, Art costs between 15million yuan (£2million).

The virtual train was unveiled as engineers across the world attempt to modernise transport infrastructure.


KiwiRail in for a shake-up

KiwiRail will be reviewed. Northern Advocate Photograph by John Stone.KiwiRail will be reviewed. Northern Advocate Photograph by John Stone.

A shake-up is looming for KiwiRail – with the Government soon to release terms of reference for a wide-ranging review of the state-owned enterprise.

A likely focus is the current requirement to maintain a large rail network.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the review would cover KiwiRail’s operating structure and longer-term capital requirements.

This year’s Budget will invest $450 million of new capital funding in KiwiRail over two years. It comes after Bridges warned after last year’s Budget that current Government handouts could not continue.

Bridges said KiwiRail had done a good job at becoming more productive, but had suffered bad luck with setbacks such as the Kaikoura earthquake.

“We want to provide a long-term, sustainable model for KiwiRail.”

Prime Minister Bill English said the Government wanted to know if any changes would help KiwiRail stand on its own. He ruled out privatisation.

“Essentially the operating business as I understand it does make money. But the capital requirements to maintain a large rail network are very substantial.”

New Zealand First leader and Northland MP Winston Peters said the review showed the Government had “woken up” to the fact rail was needed because of road congestion.

“Remarkably, this dollars-obsessed Government has even hinted at removing the requirement for KiwiRail to be commercially viable and to make a profit, which it is currently required to do by law.”

Earlier this month KiwiRail said it could spend up to $50m on new carriages for its tourist trains as it rides the tourist boom. The company is also rebranding its Cook Strait ferry and scenic train services under one brand, The Great Journeys of New Zealand.

NZ Herald

Pressure eats at South Island truckies

FTD Magazine

A Herculean post-Kaikoura earthquake effort from New Zealand’s logistics sector has ensured vital supplies continue to move throughout the domestic supply chain with relatively little impact on consumers. But while supermarket shelves may remain stocked, handling the significantly elongated, variable and more hazardous Picton–Christchurch freight task in particular is taking its toll on South Island truck drivers – their stocks are reportedly reaching zero.

Carr & Haslam managing director Chris Carr says regularly navigating the alternative Picton–Christchurch route is having a mounting impact on truck drivers – particularly given it now takes them over worktime limits for what was previously a same-day return.

“If you use that same driver and send them up to Picton now, they have to be away one night,” Mr Carr tells FTD. “It could be different if you run two drivers and run a swap operation, which some do. They’ll have a driver in Picton – who probably didn’t exist there before – and they meet the truck in the middle somewhere, do a vehicle swap, and one goes back to Picton and the other to Christchurch. But if they didn’t live in Picton before, then they have to be put up there and don’t get home for a week.”


Mr Carr observes that roads not designed for high volumes of commercial traffic have gone from accommodating about 50 trucks to 600 trucks per day, as well as having increased general motorist volume.

“There has been a temptation for quite a small number of people to push their driving hours and to drive too quickly. One of those guys took out one of our trucks – he was cutting a corner with a 20-metre-plus B-train and there was nowhere for our guy to go,” he says.

“As a result of that, we sat down with all of our people and determined we would not do any more night trips, and we set a company speed limit of 80 kph. I would have pulled it further, but couldn’t because if you pull it down too far and the other traffic is going faster, you get too much of a barrier – cars are already overtaking in crazy positions,” he notes.

“We felt a 10 kph drop would give the drivers more reaction time. It may frustrate them a little as well, but we thought the gains in safety were worth it.”

Road Transport Forum New Zealand (RTF) chief executive Ken Shirley also notes there are “incentives to push boundaries” – particularly for those who have their investment on the line. “Obviously, if you have a $500,000 rig with debt, you want it working hard,” he says. “But we must be a compliant industry and we cannot condone any pushing of the boundaries. The boundaries are there – the work time rule for very good reasons – and fatigue is a serious issue,” he emphasises.

“Seventy hours [before a mandatory 24-hour break] is really the upper limit and you could argue in many instances that that is not desirable. There were some in our industry who thought this might present an opportunity to get extended hours on a regular basis, but all of our associations said no, we shouldn’t go down that path.”


Mr Shirley expects the onset of winter to further raise risk factors. “You’ve got a lot of high-altitude basins and river valleys that are prone to things like black ice, wet conditions and snow. Lewis Pass is frequently closed with snow. That is going to add to the challenge,” he comments.

“Whether the tourism traffic volumes will be down through winter, which may offset the risks to some extent, our message to our members is to be aware – it is going to get more hazardous and so more caution and care is required.”

As a consequence of such stresses, Mr Carr says some truck drivers have simply reached a point of saying ‘I’m out of here, I’m not going to do it any more’. However, he praises his team for sticking to the task. “Our people all come back and say, ‘Hey, it’s not good, the road’s hard, we’re working harder, we’ve got to concentrate more, it’s more tiring’. They’re not whinging – they’re just reporting matter-of-fact and accepting that there is a problem there,” he says.

“It is a kind of ‘suck it up and get on with it’ situation, because there is a driver shortage and if you’re going to move the same amount of freight, you’re going to need two or three times the number of drivers to do it – and they just don’t exist,” he adds.

“The guys are just getting on with it. They’re accepting this is a temporary thing – they all wish it would finish, but they’re doing it. It’s a kind of transport industry thing.”


Relaying similar tales, Mr Shirley says that while bodies such as the RTF can offer general guidelines and recommendations, the real coping work is being facilitated within transport firms at the coal face.

“All the smart companies know they have to look after their drivers and have employed all manner of support systems to help the situation. Obviously those that do are good employers and those that don’t feel the pain more,” he notes. “Giving leave, looking after families, all of the pastoral care that human resources can provide in situations like this to make sure that people aren’t just left isolated and unsupported – it is really just support in all manner of forms.”


Given such concerns, a proposed bylaw to convert a range of temporary lower speed limits on the alternative Picton–Christchurch route into permanent limits has been welcomed by the trucking fraternity.

“They [the New Zealand Transport Agency] have looked at all the potential trouble spots and choke points and put in areas of speed restrictions [on what used to be open road]. However, an ongoing problem is the number of motorists crossing double-yellow lines on that route,” says Mr Shirley.

Adds Mr Carr: “My view is those roads aren’t designed for the weights that we’re putting over them, so the only way to protect them is to slow down. It goes against every bit of my grain, but if we don’t take the longer-term view, we’ll break the roads and no one will have anything. It’s better to slow down and lose a couple of hours so that everything is working.”

The bylaw proposal, which was drafted by the NZTA in light of current emergency speed limits nearing the end of their six-month legal term, was to conclude its consultation phase in early May, with a decision on any changes to speed limits to be announced mid-June.


Another pleasing development for the sector is the government’s recent announcement it is investing $60 million to upgrade the alternative highway. These progressive works include widening several sections of road, ongoing resealing, installing several new Bailey bridges alongside existing one-way bridges, installing traffic signals on several one-way bridges, and using radars and webcams to measure traffic volumes and provide travel updates.

Describing the upgrade as “vital”, Mr Carr ironically adds: “Nobody ever thought we would need it. It just shows you the strategic need for alternatives when calamities happen.

“There are parts where the road is so narrow you can’t get two trucks through side by side. When no one else was on it, the trucks would sit more in the middle of the road and cruise along, but now they are sitting on the edges, because traffic is coming both ways, and the edges are starting to break away. The centre part of the road is also starting to break up.”

Both parties have also welcomed the government’s recent $812 million commitment to reinstate State Highway 1 between Picton and Christchurch, with Mr Carr describing as “nuts” any suggestion a new route could have instead been forged.

“There are something like seven fault lines running through that area and a whole lot of mountains made of very solid rock. I don’t know how you could conceivably build any type of cost-effective alternative, given the topography and geology of the place. It would be a huge cost,” he says.

“We’ve never had a problem before and the chances are we’ll never have another one – or maybe just another one. Building along the coastline is relatively easy compared to building through the mountains.”


Also welcoming the government’s confirmation that investment was not coming from the National Land Transport Fund, Mr Shirley says that while it was “healthy” to first take a greenfields approach, ultimately “there is no alternative”. He also embraces the opportunity presented by the rebuild to deliver an upgraded coastal route.

In parting, Mr Shirley reflects on the “unsung story” in the post-Kaikoura earthquake environment. “New Zealanders don’t appreciate just how severe potentially that incident was in terms of disruption and how our sector – and also the shipping industry and rail – has actually just made things happen, largely behind the scenes. A tremendous effort has gone in to making things work – it is a huge accomplishment to have kept the logistics task going.”

Noting that Auckland–Christchurch deliveries have gone from requiring about four-and-a-half days to now up to 12 days, Mr Carr adds: “The general public have no idea of the difficulties that they potentially face if their life and business are dependent on traffic between Picton and Christchurch. The supply chain is hanging by a thread.”

Iain MacIntyre is an award-winning journalist who specialises in transport issues within New Zealand