Port Otago does not expect to be forced into a race with
competitor Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) over their
respective plans to deepen shipping channels, with the
possibility of larger container vessels coming to New Zealand
in the near future.
While earthquake-damaged LPC yesterday outlined a $1 billion,
30-year infrastructure rebuild plan, Port Otago remains
confident it can implement its own channel-dredging and
deepening plans in a timely manner.
Port Otago is yet to announce when it will begin its already
consented dredging programme.
Port Otago chief executive Geoff Plunket said because
Tauranga might in two to three years be ready to host the
large 6500 TEU (twenty-foot container equivalents) ships, he
did not think Port Otago and LPC would get into a race.
''No. This won't make any difference to us,'' Mr Plunket
Port Otago was still to announce its final decision on
dredging, with Mr Plunket highlighting that aside from
contracting out the job, Port Otago had its own dredge,
consents were in place and several timeframes were still
''We have a lot of flexibility and, over time, [it would be]
low cost,'' he said.
Maersk Line managing director Gerard Morrison yesterday said
while having met Mr Plunket earlier this month, Maersk had no
expectations Port Otago would bring forward its dredging
''We will look at it in due course,'' he said.
Mr Plunket said LPC had ''a lot on its plate'', other than
just considering dredging.
The extent and scope of work at LPC was outlined yesterday by
its chief executive Peter Davie , who released a ''Port
Lyttelton Plan'', which he estimated would cost $1 billion
and take up to 30 years to complete.
''To simply repair or rebuild what was there would be a
failure on our part. We must ensure that we are able to
continue to meet the needs of the region now and in the
future,'' Mr Davie said in a statement.
Critical to LPC remaining a ''key piece of the region's
infrastructure'' was its ability to manage much larger ships,
so New Zealand remained a primary freight route.
Some of the key components of Mr Davie's plan include moving
eastward some general cargo activity, and preparing for
increased container volumes with further land reclamation
east of the existing port, which would allow for the
relocation of a new, larger, container terminal. There would
also be a staged repair of the port's earthquake damage and
new building activity, while remaining fully operational, he
''Over 99% of imported and exported goods enter or exit New
Zealand via a port and volumes are growing rapidly. It is
essential that we grow to meet the demand.''