Port News: All hands on deck

The Sirius Star Service is a new shipping service running through Lyttelton port. The service represents a 14% jump in the volume of cargo being handled by LPC and it has required an innovative new storage system, new electrical capacity, new plant and new staff – and it all had to be delivered within an 8-week timeframe.

LPC Business Improvement Manager, Tom Burt, says collaboration was key to pulling off the challenge successfully.

“We had two weeks for design then six weeks to get everything ready for the first vessel. The infrastructure and operations teams worked very closely together to create a safe, efficient design which could be delivered on time.”

“We had to increase our reefer plug capacity by 60% in order to store more refrigerated containers, and we used block stacking and rail mounted access platforms in order to create an efficient system. So there was a lot of innovation happening, all at an incredible speed.”

Tom says pulling together to deliver on big projects is something the team at LPC does very well.

“I personally love it when progress happens at such a fast pace. Every day you see new achievements made. We’ve had a few curveballs in the last few years, like the Kaikoura earthquake, that have required LPC to adapt quickly. People just put their heads down and make it happen. It really shows the quality of people here.”

Looking out to port on a Friday it’s easy to spot the huge Rio class Southern Star vessel being loaded up with Kiwi goods heading out into the world. May 6 saw LPC’s largest exchange of containers on a vessel ever, when over 4,500 TEUs were discharged and loaded.

This is a reflection of Lyttelton’s growing role as a hub for the South Islands exports, in an industry that is constantly changing and evolving.

“LPC is the South Island’s major international port. Being able to get ready for this new service in 8 weeks shows that we’re capable of providing the services and facilities our customers require. It’s good for Kiwi exporters, and with 30 new staff hired for this service alone, it’s good for our local communities too.

“I’ve enjoyed this project immensely, and now I’m looking forward to turning my mind back to our long-term expansion plans. We’re always looking 10-30 years ahead at LPC. What we do today makes all the difference for our future.”

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