Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) Chief Executive Peter Davie has announced his business is to expand its navigation channel by about 6.5 kilometres’ length and 20 metres’ width, while deepening to initially accommodate vessels with a 13-metre and then 14.5-metre draught.
The now resource consent-granted development, which includes a 24-hectare reclamation, is aimed at positioning the port to accommodate growing Canterbury freight volumes which are forecast to more than double over the next 30 years.
With the port currently hosting containerships carrying 4,500-5,000 TEU, Mr Davie said the expectation is those callers will progressively increase to 5,500-6,500 TEU, with it being “quite conceivable” the dredging and reclamation works will facilitate potential callers of 8,000-9,000 TEU.
“The dredging programme means larger containerships, which have virtually doubled in size during the last ten years, will be able to call at Lyttelton,” he said.
“It is estimated this will decrease freight costs for Lyttelton customers by more than 10 per cent.”
International Container Lines’ Committee chairperson Mark Scott, whose organisation represents most major container carriers calling at New Zealand, has welcomed the announcement.
“It is vital that Lyttelton positions itself well and has the capacity for larger ships to call at the port,” he said.
“Shipping companies are making decisions now on where these large ships will call in New Zealand and the dredging programme gives them assurance that Lyttelton Port is a major player.”