6 Wharf Project Update: Work Restarts Under Level 3

HEB construction and Napier Port have restarted building Hawke’s Bay’s biggest wharf, which will allow the region to welcome more and larger ships. During the Level 4 lockdown, which put a halt to construction, Napier Port focused on ensuring plans were in place for a quick and safe return to work last week.

1. Protecting our workers and the community
Our priority is to keep workers, their families and the community protected from COVID-19 throughout the project while helping to get Hawke’s Bay’s economy back on track. While health and safety standards were strict before, new measures will ensure we adhere to the Government and industry standards under Level 3. This includes minimising the number of people on-site at any time, strict distancing protocols and additional sanitising and cleaning regimes.

2. Piling resumes this week
HEB Construction are back on track to start piling this week. As mentioned in our March update, the wharf will be supported by nearly 400 concrete piles that will be driven up to 35 metres to the underlying sandstone rock. Piling produces the most noise during the project. However, we have a number of mitigation strategies in place to minimise the impact as much as possible for our neighbours, which you can read about in our construction noise management plan here. Piling will occur intermittently from Monday through to Saturday from 0730 until 1800 until the second half of 2021.

3. Stage one dredging planned for the end of this month
Heron Construction and Dredging plan to start dredging at the end of this month and finish the dredging work required to build the wharf (stage one) towards the end of 2021. Stage one involves excavating around 1.3 million cubic metres of material so ships can safely use the wharf. Using a backhoe dredge, we’ll deposit most of the material at our newly consented site around 5 kilometres east of the port. Modelling shows that depositing material here will help to protect Pania Reef from sediment drift. Stages two to five dredging will only take place if ships with even deeper drafts indicate they will call here (we have resource consents for 35 years).

We’re focused on ensuring we protect the marine environment from adverse effects that can be associated with dredging. We’ve been working with mana whenua and the fishing community to ensure we protect water quality and fisheries throughout as well as Pania Reef. This includes monitoring the water quality (turbidity) in real time through our environmental dashboard and using an adaptive dredge management process. You can read the best practice management plans we have developed with our community partners, including our Dredging and Disposal Management Plan, in our library.

4. Meet our team: Chris Lane 6 Wharf Project Safety Advisor
We appointed Chris Lane to the project team to help ensure that everyone who works on 6 Wharf – or visits us – returns home safely every day. Chris has over 20 years’ experience in health and safety, working in construction and the oil and gas industry.

What does your role involve Chris?
At Napier Port safety comes before anything else. Our number one priority as we build this wharf is to make sure nobody is injured or harmed. It’s my job to put the policies, procedures and behaviours in place to make that happen and to constantly find ways to do things more safely.

What’s been the biggest challenge on the project so far?
When I started on this project, I didn’t think we’d be dealing with a global pandemic. We’ve had to think about everything our suppliers, contractors and, of course, Napier Port does to put controls in place to manage the risk. I think it’s taught us all that while health and safety can seem like a hassle to some, simple procedures – like washing your hands – can help protect you and others.

What are some of the procedures in place?
We have controls in place that you would expect all businesses to have – supporting people to self-isolate, ensuring separation distances, disinfecting and keeping records to help with contract tracing. Beyond that we’re also taking extra precautions. For example, we recently introduced temperature screening on-site before entering to ensure people don’t have symptoms they may be unaware of.

What do you enjoy most about Napier Port and Hawke’s Bay?
I really enjoy the collaborative approach Napier Port takes to health and safety. People seem to be aware of how important it is and are genuinely committed to building a safety culture. That makes my job easier. Before I was working on this project, I was travelling a bit. This role has meant that I can base myself in Hawke’s Bay and spend more time with my family.

If you have a question about the 6 Wharf project or something you’d like to learn more about, please drop us a line at

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