Ports of Auckland has today released its Draft 30-year Master Plan which outlines a range of projects needed for the port to keep up with the rising freight demand.
The project is being proposed as an intermediary solution as the Auckland Council, the owner of the port, has kicked off a project to find a new port location. But shifting the port might take up to 30 years.
The plan includes the automation of the container terminal, completion of a deep-water terminal berth and installation of three new cranes at Fergusson North Wharf, among other things.
As outlined, in 2019 the container terminal will become the first in New Zealand to use automated straddle carriers to load and unload trucks and to operate the container yard.
“Our new automated straddle carriers will be 15.8 metres tall and will be able to stack containers up to four high. This will increase our capacity by a third.
Container terminal automation, plus the other projects on this site, will almost double our capacity. We’ll be able to handle enough containers to support an Auckland population of around 2.7 million,” the plan reads.
As explained by Chief Executive Tony Gibson the port is facing significant capacity issues on its general cargo wharves.
“We have a plan to develop a five-storey car handling building which will provide more capacity, hide cars from view and free up space on Captain Cook Wharf. On top of this building we will create a new waterfront park and next to it on Quay Street, we have earmarked space for a new hotel, or other such building for public use,” Gibson said.
“We also have a plan to increase berth space. We are proposing to build a new wharf running east-west along the north end of Bledisloe Terminal, in line with the recommendations of Auckland Council’s Port Future Study. It will be a piled structure in line with our commitment to no further reclamation, but it will reach an extra 13 metres north into the harbour. However, this 13 metres is essential to the success of the other wharf projects.
“We will also remove all of Marsden Wharf and part of a wharf known as ‘B1’. This will bring three redundant wharves back into use and create nearly a kilometre of new general cargo berth space.
“In total we are proposing to remove more wharf than we build, removing 1.275 hectares of old wharf and adding 1.25 hectares of old wharf,” Gibson added.
“We will start applying for consents for some of the more urgent projects. As we do so, we will engage with the community and provide regular updates.”
Gibson is yet to convince the public on the project’s implementation as previous wharf extension talks were faced with fierce criticism aimed at ending harbor reclamation activities.
According to the country’s new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, she doesn’t support the new plan by Ports of Auckland that would extend Bledisloe Wharf into the Waitemata Harbour.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff also raised concern over the extension of any wharf, but said that if the port can show that “they are taking infrastructure out of the harbour … maybe they can persuade the community and maybe they’ll persuade me.”
Nevertheless, the final decision is dependent on public review.