Frequently Asked Questions

This section is being updated as the project progresses. You can ask questions or give your view by visiting the 'Feedback' section. 

1. What is Napier Port proposing?

Napier Port plans to seek resource consent to build one new berth within its existing boundary at the northern end of the container terminal. This will be long enough (350 metres) and deep enough to handle larger vessels and will require the dredging of a berth pocket and swing basin. This may require the Port to deepen and extend the shipping channel from its current consented maximum of 12.8 metres to 14.5 metres.

2. Why is the development required? What are the expected benefits for our region?

Napier Port is the largest port in central New Zealand, processing more containers than Wellington, Nelson and New Plymouth combined. The Port is a cruicial part of Hawke's Bay's export-led economy.

The Port's container volumes have continued to grow over the last 10 years and this trend is forecast to continue, particularly given the projected growth from central New Zealand importers and exporters.

At the same time, shipping patterns are continually changing, and larger vessels are projected to visit New Zealand. We have to be able to cater for these in order for our local exporters to continue to get their goods to world markets. Without a suitable berth and local supply chain, the whole regional economy would be disadvantaged.

3. Are ships getting bigger?

Yes. Container vessels in particular are getting longer, wider, and deeper. We’re also seeing this occurring in bulk vessels, and in the cruise area as well. Five years ago, the average cruise vessel was in the region of 260m, where now it’s around 290m in length. 

4. Has the Port had to turn away some of these vessels because it’s not big enough to handle them?

We haven’t had to turn away anything to date, but that is one of the risks we face if we don’t invest in something of the scale that’s currently being contemplated.

5. When will Napier Port lodge its resource consent application? What is the proposed timeline?

We are planning to apply for the resource consent in the last quarter of this year. The resource consent process is estimated to take approximately 12 months.

In terms of the development timeframe, this has not been finalised and will be dictated by operational needs. However, from a practical point of view, we would estimate the construction will take around two years.

6. Why are you consulting about this?  

The objective of consultation is to understand stakeholders’ perspectives and gather additional information the Port may not have yet considered. In parallel with consultation, the Port is investigating potential environmental effects through a series of independent, specialist technical assessments and reports. These reports and the consultation discussions and responses will help shape the consent application. 

7. Where are you planning to dredge?

The Port already undertakes ongoing maintenance dredging around its wharves and the shipping channel to keep berths at the required depths. We currently have a consented maximum depth of up to 12.8 metres and are looking to dredge in stages to a new maximum of 14.5 metres and to extend the shipping channel as shown below.

New Wharf And Dredging Project Full Extent Map May 2016

 8. How deep are you planning to dredge?

We are planning to apply for resource consent to provide a new berth pocket and deepen the shipping channel from its current consented maximum of 12.8 metres to a maximum of 14.5 metres. 

9. How are you planning to remove the material? Is there any blasting involved?

The material is expected to be removed by a combination of back hoe dredge (BHD) with barges and a trailer suction hopper dredge. No blasting will be involved.

10. What environmental effects will this have on Hawke Bay?

Technical, cultural and scientific studies are underway to identify possible impacts of the project, but based on what we already know, the works should be able to be undertaken without any long-term environmental impacts.

11. Will recreational activities such as fishing, diving, surfing and swimming be impacted by the proposed development?

We are currently working with various independent experts to determine potential impacts. As part of our consultation process, we are talking with iwi and recreation groups to understand their activities and consider any mitigation before we submit our resource consent application.

12. What effects will dredging have on East Pier Beach and Westshore Beach? 

Previous studies have not identified shoreline effects resulting from dredging, but these are currently being investigated as part of the planning and consultation phase.

13. Will the beach on the western-side of the Port be affected by the proposed development?

The beach on the western side of the Port, that is within the Port boundary, will still be able to be used by the public. Based on what we know now, we don't expect it to be impacted by the proposed development. The studies we have underway will help us to confirm this.

14. Where are you planning to place the dredged material? 

Utilising and expanding the current disposal areas is one of the options being considered. As is current practice with our maintenance dredging, when we find sand of the appropriate quality we plan put it as close to the beach area as we can.

15. What is the total volume of material to be dredged?

Up to 2.4 million m3 from the shipping channel, swing basin and berth. Please note, however, this has not been finalised and is subject to change as we refine the design.

16. Can regular samples be observed from the dredge to check for sandiness? 

This is standard practice with our current maintenance dredging. By the time we have completed our technical investigations, we will generally know the type of material from each area and can plan the disposal accordingly.

17. What other options have you considered?

The Port has considered a range of different options to meet this need, from not making any changes and rejigging existing wharves, to expanding the current breakwater and further reclamations, whilst also looking at other sites for a new berth within the Port. The Port’s preferred option is the most flexible, balanced and economically prudent outcome, but all this will need to be confirmed by the technical reports and final business case. 

18. How much will the development cost and how will the Port pay for it?

The planning work the Port is doing now will help us to establish what the proposed development will cost, but estimates at this stage indicate somewhere between $50 million to $100 million. Napier Port has a strong balance sheet and we are exploring options for funding as part of our current planning phase. All options will be evaluated and included in the final business case.

19. Has any consideration been given to the noise that may be generated as a result of the proposed development? 

The Port will be undertaking studies to model the noise impact of the new wharf. This, the other technical assessments and reports, and our consultation discussions will all help to shape the final business case and resource consent application.