New Zealand’s Port Otago has set its sights on next generation containerships and plans to make room for these giants of the sea by investing $30 million in an upgrade over the next two years that will see deepening of its shipping channel.
The port is launching an infrastructural works program, dubbed ‘Next Generation Port Otago’ aimed at allowing larger ships to access Port Chalmers while bolstering the port’s services to exporters.
“It highlights our resolve to remain at the forefront of shipping and port activity in New Zealand and as a major contributor to the region’s economic growth,” Geoff Plunket, Port Otago Chief Executive, said.
The capital works program includes:
1.Deepening of the shipping channel to 14 metres by end-2016
2.Deepening the berths and sheet piling to support the wharf
3.Warehouse expansion at both Port Chalmers and Sawyers Bay
4.Actively investigating the purchase of a new tug and barge.
“To maintain our relevance within the international supply chain requires continued development, ensuring we can cater for larger container ships of the order of 6,000 to 8,000 TEUs and that there is enough cargo available to fill those bigger ships for decades to come,” he stressed.
Port Otago is already the deepest container port in the country at 13 metres (chart datum or low tide).
In line with the channel deepening, container berths would also be deepened, requiring additional reinforcement of the wharf structures by constructing sheet piles along the berth line as an underwater retaining wall. Port Otago has contracted Daniel Smith Industries to supply and drive the piles.
“As the work can’t be undertaken while vessels are at berth we will temporarily close the inner container wharf to all vessels during the low volume season between 1 July and mid-October this year,” Plunket explained.
Following completion of the berth sheet piling work, the 135 metre extension of Container Wharf No 2 is expected to start in mid to late 2016.
Capacity at Port Otago will also be increased through expanding the Port Chalmers’ Back Beach warehouses. Aligned to the expansion, the port is looking into the purchase of a new tug and split-hopper barge at a cost of about $7 million.