Wellington Scoop

One new multi-user terminal being sought for Cook Strait ferries

Press Release – Greater Wellington Regional Council
Kaiwharawhara and Kings Wharf have been shortlisted in a search for a site for a potential new multi-user terminal for the Cook Strait Ferries.

A joint programme has been established by Greater Wellington to examine the best options for a new ferry terminal in Wellington with the active involvement of itself and five partners – the Wellington City Council, CentrePort, the New Zealand Transport Agency, KiwiRail and StraitNZ Bluebridge.

Consolidating ferry infrastructure into a single facility could create a more efficient ferry service, a greatly enhanced customer experience for all users, significantly improved amenities for the northern gateway to the capital and an economic dividend for the region.

“This is a huge opportunity for Wellington and the wider region,” says Greater Wellington Economic Development Portfolio Leader, Cllr Roger Blakeley.

“Creating a more efficient facility with increased capacity would ensure we can benefit from forecasts of substantial Cook-Strait growth, with passenger numbers expected to increase by 70 per cent by 2025 accompanied by higher freight volumes.

“Using port land more efficiently would enable other significant opportunities to be realised including the development of a new cruise ship terminal and enhancement of public access to the waterfront.

“If a deal is reached this could be a critically important project for the city, the region and New Zealand.”

Cllr Blakeley says now is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a call on the location and design of the potential new multi-user terminal. Infrastructure of this type lasts more than 50 years and the current facilities have reached the end of their useful life.

KiwiRail’s InterIslander fleet is also at a point where investment is planned in new ships which will require new terminal facilities and supporting infrastructure. CentrePort is developing a masterplan for the redevelopment of the port in which a new ferry terminal will play a key role in facilitating cross-strait commerce.

The initiative will be brought together in a business case which will then be considered by the partners before any decision is reached. Cllr Blakeley says robust information and integrated thinking is key to finding a solution that works for everyone.

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  1. Traveller, 22. November 2018, 21:25

    Crazy to think of having a new interisland terminal way out at Kaiwharawhara. Kings Wharf is the only choice. Keep it central.

  2. Roy Kutel, 22. November 2018, 21:40

    They looked at this in the early 1990s and NZ Rail wanted $100 million to move so it got rejected on the basis of cost. I dread to think what the cost would be today! By contrast, Bluebridge sensibly moved to opposite the rail station and I bet it didn’t cost them more than half a million. Big companies always want too much to do anything. And if GWRC is involved beware! They can’t even build a small suburban bus hub on time and to budget even with eight years of planning!

  3. Ross Clark, 22. November 2018, 22:55

    Back in the day (I worked for IIL for some years as an analyst), Tranz Rail as-was, had concentrated its freight thinking on moving rail across the Strait – hence the original need for the terminal at Kaiwharawhara, and the costs of shifting into the central city. Now that inter-island rail freight is less part of the picture than twenty years ago, other options can be looked at.

  4. Kerry, 23. November 2018, 8:46

    Ross: I think KiwiRail will be keen to keep Interislander freight active. With new transport planning putting more emphasis on rail, it makes good sense to also boost inter-island rail freight. The reason it is on the back burner now is that Treasury threw out the Clifford Bay proposal, and nothing has happened since. Treasury had/has refused to fund new terminals because the old ones were satisfactory.
    In fact the terminals were/are unsatisfactory because they won’t take vessels wider than Aratere. It is quite a bit narrower than the rest of the fleet, and it makes a big difference to capacity: road, rail and passenger. KiwiRail was in a corner and the best it could manage was a longer Aratere.
    On the other hand, I wonder about the larger passenger liners getting into King’s Wharf on a windy day…

  5. Marion Leader, 23. November 2018, 16:15

    Please keep Bluebridge where it is. It is sensibly central and saves a lot of carbon for passengers who want to take advantage of coming easily into Central Wellington.