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Kaiwharawhara makes cut as site for new multi user ferry terminal - Wellington Council

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Following a reassessment of criteria for development of a Multi-User Ferry Terminal, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Horizons Regional Council, joint shareholders of CentrePort, have both reaffirmed Kaiwharawhara as their preferred location for the terminal.

For the past two years Greater Wellington and partners Bluebridge, KiwiRail, CentrePort, Wellington City Council and NZTA have worked on options for the location of a Multi-User Ferry Terminal to replace the current two Single User Ferry Terminals, operated by Interislander and Bluebridge.

The Project Control Group, made up of partner representatives, approved a reassessment of four sites - Kings Wharf, Kaiwharawhara, Aotea Wharf and Container Wharf in late 2019. This reassessment showed that Kaiwharawhara scored best against the assessment criteria.

A paper on the reassessment, considered by Horizons Regional Council at its 7 April meeting and by Greater Wellington Regional Council at its 9 April meeting, recommended that the Kaiwharawhara option be selected for the best site for the future operation of inter-island ferry services and to best suit the ongoing operations of CentrePort and the employment and economic development it creates.

Daran Ponter, chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council, said that "We fully support the Kaiwharawhara option. All other location options significantly impact on Centreport’s short and long term port business and would drag ferry traffic, including road and rail, closer to the CBD."

Support was also given by Horizons Regional Council chair Rachel Keedwell, who says Horizons considered the paper and was supportive of Kaiwharawhara as the preferred location for the Multi User Ferry Terminal.

Councilor Prue Lamason, chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Holding Company, says Greater Wellington needs to consider not just the impact on the business of CentrePort but the impact on local and regional businesses whose trading would be impacted.

"A recent independent economic assessment confirms the importance of the port to local and regional businesses and the investment decisions made by them. We must be mindful of that."

She added that that while the decision in favour of Kaiwharawhara is a major milestone, further engagement with mana whenua will be required along with consideration of the potential environmental impacts of any proposals arising from the development.

Cr Ponter says "our decision means that CentrePort has a clear direction from its shareholders and can start in earnest planning the layout and development of Kaiwharawhara - alongside all other port developments - initially as an upgraded single user terminal to accommodate larger vessels before the full development of a multi-user terminal.

"Our priority is the regeneration of CentrePort, and working towards the new ferry terminal must sit within that."

Wellington City Council mayor Cr Andy Foster says "certainty over the location for the ferry terminal is a crucial step to planning the layout of the port, and it also allows all the major parties to finally start making long awaited decisions about connecting road, rail, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. It will also allow us, I hope, to have a terminal that our capital city can finally be proud of."

Cr Ponter said the port was focused on supporting importers and exporters with a cost-effective and efficient supply chain that includes lower inland transportation costs.

He said the port had maintained good growth since the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, with plans to significantly grow all of its trades over the coming decade.

CentrePort Limited - Key facts and figures

About CentrePort

CentrePort is a key strategic asset for central New Zealand. It facilitates economic growth in regions in the North and South Islands through safe and efficient movement of cargo. With a staff of 240 and working with a range of partners CPL provides supply chain solutions and expertise including the CentreRail Service with KiwiRail, and a network of inland cargo hubs. CentrePort facilitates international and coastal shipping, the inter-island Cook Strait ferry services, and land and aviation fuel supplies.

CentrePort’s Financial Performance

The underlying profit after tax and before earthquake impacts, changes in fair value and realisation of financial instruments for the Financial Year 2019 was $16.6m reflecting a 40 per cent improvement on the previous year. CentrePort’s profitability has reflected the continued growth in trades apart from the disruption of the November 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake.

Financial Year CPL NPAT






Dividends to shareholders

The serious impacts of the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquakes meant CentrePort did not pay a dividend in FY17 as it focused on repair and recovery operations. The Port quickly returned to pre-quake volumes and financial performance and was able to declare a $2m dividend for FY18, two years ahead of schedule. A $4m dividend was declared for FY19.

CentrePort’s contribution to the central New Zealand economy

Berl research shows that in 2019 CentrePort-related activity contributed $2.5b to the New Zealand economy and supported over 26,000 jobs. Berl forecasts the CentrePort contribution to GDP to grow to $3b by 2022 and activity-related employment to more than 36,000 jobs.

CentrePort Cargo Volumes

Containers: The containers business has continued to bounce back from the impacts of the 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake.

The quake put the Port’s two ship-to-shore cranes out of action for 10 months, significantly denting volumes. Since the cranes came back into operation there has been continued growth.

Container volumes grew 11 per cent in FY19, with 93,846 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). CentrePort’s platform for growth strategy is paying dividends, and the container business received a significant boost with the securing of the ANZEX shipping service which gives our customers direct access to the north Asian markets (China and Korea). The new service, which starts in June, increases our container shipping services from three to four.

Logs: The growth in log volumes through CentrePort has been significant. Volumes have doubled in the past six years, and this growth is predicted to continue over the next decade.

In FY19 a record 1,709,435 JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) was exported. This was a 27 per cent increase on the previous year, led by strong demand from China.

Volumes will be impacted by the COVID-19 situation, but the medium-to-long term outlook remains strong.

Fuel: For the past three financial years CentrePort has hit 1m tonnes through its fuel facilities.

Based at Seaview on the Lower Hutt side of Wellington harbour, fuel is the "quiet cargo" for CentrePort and the Seaview wharf facility is a critical asset for the region.

The million tonnes through Seaview provides nearly all of the fuel for the lower North Island. In addition, CentrePort facilitates all the aviation fuel supplies for Wellington International Airport from Burnham wharf.

Bulk cargoes/cruise: CentrePort received a record 112 cruise ship visits in the 2019/20 cruise season, beating the previous record mark of 110 visits in 2018/20. Vehicle volumes have been consistently around the 25,000-unit mark for the past three years.


The COVID-19 crisis provides clear evidence of CentrePort’s value as a ‘lifelines’ asset for the central New Zealand economy. Deemed an essential service, CentrePort has continued to operate bringing in essential supplies and fuel and facilitating exports to global markets.

CentrePort effectively connects State Highway 1 between the North and South Islands and provides an export connection to the rest of the world.

In the event of an emergency, fuel facilitated through CentrePort assets would be essential to supply rescue equipment in the immediate response. In an earthquake, ferries would also play an important part in the response, as a key supply chain due to the expected loss of roading.


CentrePort is developing an ambitious regeneration plan that will deliver our vision of a 21st century logistics supply chain asset to benefit the business, the community and the New Zealand economy. The multi-user-ferry-terminal is part of the Port’s regeneration planning.

The recovery from the damage/destruction caused by the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake provided CentrePort with the opportunity to create the assets and infrastructure appropriate to serve the economy and community in the decades to come. The Port finalised its insurance claims related to the Kaikoura earthquakes for a total of $667.2m net of deductibles.

The planning, utilising United Nations Development Programme goals is considering a variety of factors including safety, resilience, the environment, technology, risk management, the needs of the community, and the regional and national economies.

The importance of the Multi-User Ferry Terminal to the Regeneration

The new terminal would be a resilient Northern Gateway to Wellington and the South Island and provide much improved connectivity between transport modes.

The ferry terminal is considered a critical piece of infrastructure for New Zealand and the Wellington region to enable the Cook Strait ferry trade and, in particular, for a response in a major natural disaster.

The proposed terminal would be a resilient strategic asset, that links and aligns with the wider Wellington city and regional urbanisation and transport goal projects.

The Environment

CentrePort is committed to environmental sustainability and is a key element of the regeneration plan for the port.

Our award-winning Waste Minimisation Project operating since 2017 has expanded and is now recycling material from other organisations.

The Port is developing carbon reduction targets and has several actions already underway including investing in electric cargo moving vehicles.

The CentrePort Environmental Management System is now a certified programme under the accredited EnviroMark scheme.

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