Large dredger Lyttelton bound

Royal Boskalis Westminster’s 230.71-metre trailing suction hopper dredger Fairway is headed for Lyttelton Port to commence works to widen the harbour channel by 20 metres and deepen it to accommodate vessels with a 13.3-metre draught.

Built in 1997 and Cyprus-flagged, the 33,423GT dredger underwent thorough cleaning at Singapore’s Tuas shipyard, before it will start the initial 11-week stage of works at Lyttelton.

That initial phase of the dredging programme has been awarded to Netherlands-based contractor Boskalis.

Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) says the channel expansion works will ensure Canterbury’s importers and exporters are provided with “the best-possible and most-cost effective international shipping solutions”.

It says that currently, most of its containership callers carry 4,000 TEU – “but making the channel deeper and wider will allow new larger vessels to load and offload up to 9,500 TEU at a time”.

The South Island’s largest container port, LPC’s freight volumes are forecast to more than double in 30 years.