Minister opens port’s main office and crane simulator

Economic Development Minister Hon Steven Joyce officially opened Napier Port’s new $5 million main office and launched the country’s first mobile harbour crane simulator at the port today.

With the number of containers handled up 16.5 percent last year, and almost 80 percent over 10 years, both the building and simulator aim to lift safety and productivity as Napier Port prepares itself for continued growth.

“The new building is an exciting step forward for the port,” said Napier Port Chairman Alasdair MacLeod.

“For the first time in its history, nearly all staff – corporate, operations, engineering and marine departments – are working together under one roof. Bringing teams closer together supports the port’s strategic goal of fostering a more engaged, innovative and connected workforce to ensure it’s well placed to handle the region’s growing cargo base and remain central New Zealand’s leading port,” said Mr MacLeod.

Designed and constructed to the latest building standards, the building provides a higher level of resilience following a natural disaster, such as an earthquake and tsunami. It has been built in accordance with the requirements of an ‘importance level 3’ building (as defined in the building code). This is in recognition of the port’s role as a Hawke’s Bay ‘lifeline utility’, which provides essential services to the community.

The Minister and guests were also there to mark the launch of New Zealand’s first mobile harbour crane simulator.

The world-class Vortex simulator transforms the way crane operators are selected and how training is delivered, providing an exact replication of Napier Port’s crane operation from layout, equipment, vessels and vehicles, right down to quayside conditions such as shadows and vessel movement.

“Having all workers return home safely after their work is paramount. The simulator means Napier Port can see, in a safer and more controlled environment, how potential crane operators will perform,” Mr McLeod said.

“It’s cut down the selection process timeframe by about 90 percent — the team know very quickly if someone has the right skills and eye-hand coordination for the job — and we don’t need to send operators overseas where they previously went for training.

“We expect other efficiency gains, such as an improvement in crane rates through operators being able to practice on a regular basis and using it to practice more difficult scenarios,” he said.

The simulator will also be available to train stevedores that use ship pedestal mounted cranes (commonly known as ship’s gear) and other ports that operate Terex Gottwald mobile harbor cranes, such as Northport, as well as those that operate Liebherr mobile harbour cranes.

Other investments Napier Port has made in the past financial year totalling $34 million have included: joining with the Ports of Auckland and Icepak NZ to establish a new inland port and freight hub in Palmerston North, buying and commissioning two new mobile harbour cranes, and the development of an off-port empty container depot in Napier’s industrial area of Pandora.

More about the new building

  • The new building replaces the administration and operations buildings that are both being demolished. Both buildings were earthquake prone and in need of an upgrade to bring them into line with building regulations. The space where the buildings were will be used to hold transit cargoes and provide additional intermodal handling capacity.
  • Practically, a building that has been built in accordance with the requirements of an ‘importance level 3’ building (as defined in the building code) may suffer some moderate damage but it will be repairable and the building will be back to being fully operational within at least seven days. It also means that there should be no loss of life as a result of damage to the building.
  • Hawke’s Bay based PMA architects designed the building, while Alexander’s Construction were contracted to carry out the build.
  • More information about Hawke’s Bay lifeline utilities can be found here.

More about the crane simulator

  • The crane simulator, which represents an investment of close to $1 million, was built in Montreal, Canada by CM Labs Simulations with significant input from Napier Port’s senior crane operators. The project has also seen Napier Port collaborate again with Ports of Auckland and with Port Flinders in Adelaide that are commissioning their own simulators.