dave November 16, 2016 No Comments

NZTA media release

NZ Transport Agency contractors resumed work early this morning to assess the safety of key South Island state highway routes, clear slips and safely re-open roads as soon as conditions allow.

Controlled access for local residents and emergency services was restored yesterday on SH1 south from Seddon to Ward, and north from Cheviot to Goose Bay.

Transport Agency Highways Manager Neil Walker says work today will remain squarely focussed on restoring access to communities which have been cut off by damage from Monday’s quake and establishing safe and reliable alternative routes.

 “We’re back on site this morning working urgently with Kaikoura District Council contractors to open the inland road (route 70) between Culverden and Kaikoura. Crews have been working from both ends since Monday to clear slips and assess the road and structures for damage, including aerial bridge inspections being conducted by helicopter. The route is now open to all vehicles from Culverden to Waiau, and crews are doing everything possible to have the route safely open through to Kaikoura by the weekend.

“The alternative inland state highway route from Picton to Christchurch, via Murchison and the Lewis Pass has been open since late Monday afternoon. This will likely be the main state highway route from Christchurch to Picton for several months, given the amount of work which will be required to clear the large slips which have closed SH1.”

With the closure of SH1, Mr Walker says the Lewis Pass route will be carrying higher volumes of traffic, and people are urged to allow extra time for their journeys. People should allow an additional 90 minutes to two hours for the journey between Christchurch and Picton on the Lewis Pass route – average journey times between Christchurch and Picton are currently expected to take seven and a half hours. Fuel, food and toilet stops are available along the route at Culverden, Springs Junction and Murchison.

State Highway 7A, giving access to Hanmer Springs from State Highway 7, re-opened at 7am today after being closed overnight due to the risk of further rockfalls.

With continuing aftershocks contributing to the on-going risk of further slips and rockfalls in several parts of the South Island, people are urged to drive with extra caution and comply with all temporary speed restrictions.

The Transport Agency thanks all road users for being patient as many people’s travel plans are disrupted and many people are again managing their homes, work and lives amidst the aftershocks.

People can call 0800 44 44 49 for updates and the Transport Agency’s website and social media accounts will be also updated as more information is available.

Canterbury / Marlborough highway status – 5pm, 15 November 2016 [PDF, 1.8 MB] (map detailing affected routes)

•        http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic

South Island updates
•        www.facebook.com/nztasouthisland
•        twitter.com/NZTATotS (Top of the South)
•        Canterbury West Coast Twitter updates

Wellington updates
•        www.facebook.com/nztawgtn/
•        http://ow.ly/osEi306aMzO   (Twitter updates)

Rising sun, merging shipping

Japan’s container shipping heavyweights — Nippon Yusen, Mitsui OSK Lines and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha — have announced plans to merge into the world’s sixth-largest box line.

rising-sun-merge-shippingReacting to the sector’s ongoing battle against over-capacity and the global economic downturn, the trio’s merger was driven by the aim of “becoming one … so none of us become zero”, says Nippon Yusen president Tadaaki Naito.

According to reports, the combined entity will have a fleet of 256 vessels representing a total capacity of 1.38 million TEU (about 7% of global capacity) and its combined revenue will be $US19 billion.

With all three carriers having reported losses in their interim financial results, the combined benefits of the merger have been estimated at about US$1.1 billion annually.

Due to be formed on July 1 next year and commence operations in April 2018 — pending regulatory approval — the merged entity will be owned 38% by Nippon Yusen and 31% each by the other two partners.

The development continues a wave of consolidation and or collapse in the global container shipping industry, as the sector strives to cut costs and share risk in what has been described as its “worst-ever downturn”.

dave November 2, 2016 No Comments

KiwiRail faces headwind

kiwirail-faces-headwindKiwiRail’s leadership has warned the business faces a potential dip in revenue in 2017 due to “challenging” economic headwinds, at its recent annual public meeting in Wellington.

Addresses from KiwiRail chairperson John Spencer and chief executive Peter Reidy highlight those challenges as including the decline of such cargoes as coal, excess capacity on Cook Strait and the emergence of additional competition from larger-sized trucks.

Positives were noted as a potential recovery of coal prices, an increase in passenger volumes alone on Cook Strait and strong benefits from increased forestry harvesting.

In the most recent financial year, KiwiRail exceeded one of its key Statement of Corporate Intent (SCI) targets for the first time in delivering an underlying operating surplus of $86 million (excluding $10 million in one-off restructuring and Wellington Metro tender costs). However, its comparable operating revenue declined 3.7% to $694 million and was $9 million below the SCI target.

Taking positive strides to de-risk its business and find new operational efficiencies and cost-savings, KiwiRail’s leadership emphasises that its “above rail” operation is cash positive.

Meet Port Otago’s new CEO

portotagonewceoPort Otago’s impressively-advanced leadership succession process has now concluded, with current Silver Fern Farms chief operating officer Kevin Winders confirmed as its chief executive designate.

Described as having a strong financial and strategic skill set as well as good understanding of shipping though involvement with Kotahi, Mr Winders is to join the port company in February and ultimately succeed current chief executive Geoff Plunket at the end of 2017.

Port Otago chairperson David Faulkner says the appointment culminated a three-month recruitment process, which followed Mr Plunket recently announcing he was to retire from the position he has held since 2004.
“There were a number of very strong candidates and Kevin ticked all the boxes,” says Mr Faulkner.

Also having previous roles with PGG Wrightson, Contact Energy and KPMG, Mr Winders comments: “I am looking forward to the challenge of the new role and being part of the team to deliver the Next Generation infrastructural programme.”

Describing as “an honour and a privilege” what will be about 30 years’ involvement with the port at the end of 2017, Mr Plunket says he has no plans to move onto the board.

“A new management team needs the opportunity to run the business in the way they think is appropriate and that may be different to how I’ve done it,” he says.