Wellington Scoop

Urgent call for new shared ferry terminals in Wellington and Picton

News from TransTasman
The NZ Shipping Federation says the time is ripe to build new ferry terminals in Wellington and Picton. Ferry operators Bluebridge and Interislander now have separate terminals in each port. New consolidated terminals could work like airport terminals, which service multiple airlines.

As reported in Trans-Tasman’s sister publication NZ Transport Intelligence Business Alert, consolidation would enhance the experiences of tourists (about 1.5m tourists used the ferries last year), and allow more efficient freight operations. Earthquake resilience could also be improved.

Federation executive director Annabel Young says the issue has considerable urgency in Wellington as CentrePort is due a quake insurance payout which could contribute to the cost of a new terminal. “Everyone seems to support the idea but there is a lack of central Govt leadership to get all the interested parties on board. We are asking the Govt for leadership, not money. It is about getting everyone engaged.”

Young says those involved include the port companies and vessel operators, who are all keen, NZTA (for the roading connectivity), KiwiRail, the Nelson-Marlborough and Greater Wellington regional councils (as owners of the ports and also because of control of the urban railway in Wellington), and the Wellington City Council.

CentrePort says it is already talking to the Govt and key stakeholders about how to build resilience into the Cook Strait connection. A spokesperson says “this may involve the modernisation of marine infrastructure.”

Port Marlborough manager business delivery Rhys Welbourn says the port has been considering a new terminal for some time. “However, to invest in the future we need to know what the future will look like – i.e. what kind of ferries will be calling? What size? For how long?” Welbourn says a long-term commitment by customers to Picton would be crucial for the port to decide to invest.

A spokesperson for Transport Minister Simon Bridges says “the Govt is always open to discussing and reviewing proposals with stakeholders. Ultimately, it is a matter for the port companies, regional councils, NZTA and KiwiRail but if stakeholders identified a role for Govt to play we are open to considering it.”

However, depending on the outcome of the election, it may not be Bridges who has the chance to resolve the issue.

Young says “the capital city and Picton both deserve terminals that are good tourism experiences for passengers. Convening a meeting to move this project along might be a smart move for a new Minister of Transport, giving them a quick win.”

1 comment:

  1. Anabel, 13. September 2017, 15:11

    Another ratepayer-funded private business project?