Friday 24th November 2017
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Marsden Point-based Northport chief executive Jon Moore says the port could grow to more than twice its current size if container operations are moved from Ports of Auckland, but stressed management is just "prompting a discussion" at an early stage.
The company, which is co-owned by Marsden Maritime Holdings and Port of Tauranga, has published its vision for growth on a website which includes a three-minute video on the potential expansion of the port's existing wharf to the east and west, rather than north into the harbour. Its existing wharf is 570 metres long, and has consent for one 270 metre extension to the east.
A further 250 metre extension on 13 hectares of reclaimed land in the east, and 300 metres on 9.3 hectares of land at the west end, would give a total linear berth of 1,390 metres, the video shows.
In the lead-up to the general election, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters campaigned on moving container operations from Auckland to Northport as part of his party's bid to revitalise Northland's economy. Its coalition deal with the Labour Party saw an agreement to commission a feasibility study on the options for moving the Ports of Auckland, including giving Northport serious consideration.
Chief executive Moore said it had been frustrating in recent months to hear people say it wouldn't be possible to grow the port, and the vision for growth "demonstrates clearly that this is not the case. It introduces some reality to the discussion and shows that we are, in fact, well positioned to support economic growth both in Northland and in Auckland."
The video says that Northport has more space at its disposal than any other port in New Zealand, and has easy access to the entire upper North Island through the State Highway network. Northport is "ideally positioned to handle substantial growth in imports and exports, and flexible enough to accommodate whatever business comes our way," it says.
Moore said the vision was not a confirmed plan nor a formal proposal, and the company's board has not yet made a decision. "It’s a conversation-starter; a vision based on what we believe is possible here," he said. Still, the port said the vision "is based on many years of research, technical planning and engineering input from a raft of experts in this field" and the company "now has a good idea about what is physically and technically possible at Northport, and what isn’t."
The port says it is at the very beginning of the process and is looking for community input, stakeholder briefings and consultation. This will be followed by technical and environmental studies and modelling, and "if there are no surprises" Northport will undertake detailed stakeholder consultation.
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