Napier Port Welcomes First Vessel to 6 Wharf Ahead of Official Opening Next Month

This morning Napier Port (NZX.NPH) marked a momentous milestone and welcomed the very first container vessel to berth at its new 350-metre 6 Wharf. The CMA CGM Marlin, measuring 294.05-metres long with a 32.2-metre beam (width), was safely piloted into Napier Port at approximately 9am on Saturday 18 June and berthed at 6 Wharf under the guidance of Napier Port’s three tugs – Kaweka, Ahuriri and Te Mata. The new wharf is set to officially open for business on Friday 22 July 2022, aligned to the transformation of the container terminal operations to maximise safety and efficiency for Napier Port’s own operations.

With the Dry Commissioning process completed at the end of March, the berthing of the CMA CGM Marlin is part of the 6 Wharf Wet Commissioning stage, when the project team tests the new, state-of-the-art MoorMaster vacuum mooring system on container vessels that regularly call into Napier Port.

Napier Port CEO Todd Dawson said, “It’s certainly a sight that has been many years and an immeasurable amount of planning and hard work in the making – a container ship piloted and berthed safely at 6 Wharf. The CMA CGM Marlin is only a few centimetres short of being the longest container ship calling to Napier Port, so it is fitting that she was the first ship to test our newest berth and our MoorMaster infrastructure.”

6 Wharf is long enough, and the new 13m berth pocket is deep enough, to handle the larger ships arriving in New Zealand in the future. Once officially opened next month, 6 Wharf will provide increased shipping capacity, improve the availability and operational performance across all of Napier Port’s wharves, and ultimately boost productivity for many of Napier Port’s customers.

“The new wharf not only future-proofs Hawke’s Bay’s regional growth, it also opens up further growth opportunities and shipping options for cargo owners and customers across the central and lower North Island,” continued Dawson.

A team from Cavotec, manufacturers of MoorMaster, arrived back at Napier Port on Monday this week to lead the Wet Commissioning process and start training Napier Port’s Mooring team to manage operations of the system.

Cavotec Country Manager New Zealand David Williams said, “The MoorMaster system is designed to deliver faster, safer and cleaner mooring. The automated vacuum pads are able to moor and release vessels in seconds, at the push of a button, with full remote-control access available out on the wharf using a tablet device. The system dramatically improves safety and operational efficiency, optimises the ship-to-shore interface, and also helps to reduce emissions during ship berthing due to reduced use of tugs and ship engines.”

Each of the 10 MoorMaster units can secure up to 40 tonnes and features tidal gauges and high-tech sensors that allow the system to hold a vessel safely in place while continually making automated adjustments to mitigate swell and weather conditions.

Tied to the Wet Commissioning process, Napier Port has also gone live with its – and New Zealand’s first official – High Density Electronic Navigation Chart (hdENC). This new navigation chart was used by Napier Port’s Marine Pilots to safely navigate the first vessel through the new Tareha navigation channel into port last week.

The new High Density chart provides much greater detail than a standard navigation chart and thus enhances the safety of navigation and additionally should expand the range of weather and tidal conditions in which safe navigation may be conducted. The chart encompasses all of the changes to Napier’s Pilotage area during the 6 Wharf development project, including 17 changes to the port’s navigation lights, buoys and beacons.


Napier Port has produced a short video showcasing the 6 Wharf project and the benefits it is set to deliver for our customers, our community and our region. Available to view here.

Napier Port will provide a further media update and photographs when 6 Wharf officially opens on 22 July 2022.

6 Wharf Project Facts and Figures

A snapshot of the construction project to date illustrates a number of the important milestones and sustainability initiatives that Napier Port has achieved over the last two years.

Construction Milestones

  • 400 reinforced concrete piles (forming the foundation of the wharf) and 32 concrete deck pours (forming the wharf deck) completed.
  • Installation and dry commissioning of 10 MoorMaster units – a state-of-the-art vacuum mooring system that will increase mooring speed and berth availability, reduce time in port and improve our people’s safety.
  • Completed build of a new electrical substation with an 11,000 volt supply to power the new MoorMaster system, new and existing light towers, shore powers, a data hub and a seismic monitoring system. Milestone video available to view here for more information.
  • Two-year capital (new) dredging programme to dredge and safely dispose approximately 1.2 million cubic metres of material completed. This programme created a new berth pocket alongside 6 Wharf and a larger swinging basin (where ships turn), as well as deepened parts of the inner harbour and the shipping channel closest to the port. Milestone video available to view here for more information.


Sustainability Milestones

  • Sustainability has been an overriding consideration throughout the 6 Wharf build, with detailed planning undertaken with mana whenua, fishing groups and other marine users during a comprehensive resource consent process. We remain fully compliant with our consent conditions, in particular the water quality requirements at Pānia Reef.
  • Establishment of the Napier Port kororā (little blue penguin) sanctuary to protect this at-risk species found on port, including the microchipping of over 185 kororā. The sanctuary was developed with the help of kororā expert of 30 years’ Professor John Cockrem from Massey University and in consultation with mana whenua as kaitiaki of the area, the Department of Conservation and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.
  • Development and launch of the Marine Cultural Health Programme (MCHP) – a partnership between mana whenua hapū and Napier Port to monitor the health of the marine environment in and around the Ahuriri area. It is the first marine cultural health programme of its kind in New Zealand (Website available here –
  • Creation of two new artificial reefs, using limestone from a dismantled revetment seawall, which has helped to enhance the existing habitat and health of the region’s marine life and provide for local recreational fishing. This project was a unique collaboration with LegaSea, a group of recreational fishers dedicated to rebuilding Hawke’s Bay fish stock, and supported by the Marine Cultural Health Programme Steering Komiti.



Media Contact:
Chris Lonergan
Senior Communications Advisor, Napier Port
Phone: 027 255 0486

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