Shaping the Port’s Future
Canterbury freight volumes are forecast to more than double in the next 30 years – and Lyttelton Port is shaping its services to be ready to efficiently manage future growth.
LPC has been granted resource consent to dredge the harbour shipping channel to increase the draught for vessels wanting to access the Port. This will enable larger ships to call, and ensure South Island importers and exporters continue to have unmatched access to world wide markets.
Resource consent has also been granted to expand the Container Terminal land area to cater for growing Canterbury imports and exports.
The Port is critical for industries at the heart of Canterbury’s economy – agriculture, manufacturing, construction, forestry and fishing. With a $264 million annual increase in agribusiness production resulting from the Central Plains Water irrigation project, LPC is making sure it is ready to manage the resulting freight volume growth.
LPC Chief Executive Peter Davie says the dredging programme is vital for the Port to meet predicted freight growth.
The channel deepening work will occur in two stages. Stage one will allow vessels with a 13.3 metre draught to call at Lyttelton. Completion of stage two will allow unrestricted sailing for 14.5 metre draught vessels across all tides.
Chairman of the International Container Lines Committee (ICLC), which represents most major container carriers calling at New Zealand, Mark Scott, says it is vital Lyttelton has the capacity for larger ships. “Shipping companies are making decisions now on where these large ships will call in New Zealand and the dredging programme gives certainty Lyttelton Port is a major player.”
Mark says container vessels currently visiting Lyttelton commonly carry 4,500-5,000 Twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs), and that will increase to 5,500-6,500 TEUs with larger vessels. “However, it is quite conceivable that with the dredging of the channel vessels carrying 8,000-9,000 TEUs will be able to call at Lyttelton,” he says.
Mike Knowles, Chair of the New Zealand Shippers Council, says Lyttelton is the major port in the South Island and it is essential it gears up to accommodate the larger ships that want to come here. “It will allow the Port to remain competitive for international shipping lines,” he says.
Peter Davie said the overall dredging programme, which will start in August and last about 11 weeks, would be the country’s biggest. “At the same time, we will expand our reclamation at Te Awaparahi Bay by 24 hectares, which includes the construction of a new 700 metre container wharf. Last year the existing reclamation at Te Awaparahi Bay reached 10 hectares. This is part of LPC’s long term plans to move operations to the east, away from the local community. The additional reclamation will facilitate this shift.
“We are focused on future proofing our Port. We are committed to having a facility that meets customer needs for the future and supports the lifestyle of everyone in Canterbury,” says Peter Davie.