About 6 Wharf

About 6 Wharf

Napier Port’s new wharf has been constructed so we can support continued growth for our region and our customers.

6 Wharf is helping to reduce congestion, give us the ability to handle larger ships, extend our container vessel capacity, allow us to berth all ships 24 hours a day and boost our operational agility and resilience.

The wharf is long enough and the berth pocket deep enough to handle the largest ships we expect will visit Hawke’s Bay in the next 30 years.

HEB construction built the wharf and started construction in early 2020 and finished in late 2022.

The development included a capital (new) dredging programme to create a new turning area and ensure ships can safely use the wharf. Heron Construction and Dredging were the sub-contractor for the dredging work. They commenced dredging in mid-2020 and completed the programme in April 2022.

A pavement works project, encompassing an area of 20,000m2, with 8.5km of electrical ducting, 14.5km of electrical cable and 4km of earthing cable installed, connects the wharf to Napier Port’s existing Container Terminal.

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The  wharf is 350 metres long and 34 metres wide, allowing us to service more and larger vessels.

It is located within the port’s existing boundary on the northern face of the container terminal to take advantage of the existing breakwater.

Stage one dredging started in mid-2020.

So ships can use 6 Wharf we needed to create a berth pocket to a depth of 13.0 metres and create a slope underneath the wharf where the shore protection is placed. We also needed to extend the swinging basin (where ships turn), dredge parts of the inner harbour and deepen the shipping channel closest to the port 12.5 metres deep.

This stage involved dredging and disposing approximately 1.3 million cubic metres of dredged material.

Stages two to five dredging was not required while we built 6 Wharf and will only take place as required. This part of the project will allow the port to handle even larger ships as ship drafts continue to increase (we’ve secured resource consents for 35 years).

This involves extending the channel and increasing its depth by 0.5 metre each stage to a maximum depth of 14.5 metres. Each stage will take up to nine weeks and involve dredging and disposing a similar volume of material; the overall total being around 3.2 million cubic metres.

Napier Port secured resource consents to deposit and dispose of dredged material for stage one of the project at a site that is 5 kilometres to the east of the port.

The consultation and scientific work prior to the project commencement confirmed that this was the best disposal site to minimise any impact from dredging and disposal. At 20 to 23 metres deep, material disposed here had less chance of being disturbed by adverse weather events. The prevailing south-directed current also takes sediment away from Pania Reef, and minimised the chances of disturbing marine life and ecology.

Prior to applying for resource consents we undertook extensive studies and modelling to understand the ecology of Pania Reef.

The reef is a special conservation area and a site of significance to mana whenua as the embodiment of Pania, a prominent ancestor.

It’s also an important spot for kai moana and the fishing community.

We designed the dredging project to preserve the mauri of the reef and ensure sediment plume created by planned dredging wouldn’t threaten the reef and ecology. W also undertook environmental monitoring, which helped to guide our dredging operations.

Napier Port has a number of permanent monitoring buoys anchored in the surrounding harbour to guide our daily operations.

Before we applied for resource consents we put in additional buoys to gather data about tides, wave heights, currents, turbidity (clarity) of the water and underwater noise.

The wave buoy (G), turbidity buoys (E & F) and weather station (H) remained in place and continued to track conditions, such as water clarity in real-time, and ensure our planned dredging was not impacting the existing ecology of Pania Reef.

You can check out our live environmental monitoring dashboard here.

We’ve built an on-port penguin sanctuary to protect the kororā or little blue penguins that nest in and around the sea walls at Napier Port.

We undertook research to understand and protect the species and their habitat and prepared an Avian Management Plan with the Department of Conservation, Mana Whenua and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to ensure we protected the kororā and other birdlife during construction.

You can read more about the on-port penguin sanctuary here

Why we needed 6 Wharf in 2022

Napier Port is the largest port in central New Zealand and a crucial part of Hawke’s Bay’s export-led economy.

Demand for wharf space was growing rapidly. We had reached a tipping point and needed a new wharf for two main reasons:

1. We were running out of berth space
Prior to 6 Wharf, ships sometimes had to wait for wharf space. The new wharf reduces congestion and improves operating efficiency by reducing secondary vessel movements (temporarily moving vessels off wharves to accommodate other vessels).

2. Ships are getting larger
6 Wharf allows larger ships – container ships up to 320 metres long and cruise vessels up to 360 metres long – to berth. We needed a wharf large enough for these ships or they would bypass Napier and our exporters and importers would be disadvantaged, which in turn would impact the regional economy.

Other benefits of 6 Wharf

6 Wharf also:

  • Extends the Port’s container ship capacity
  • Allows berthing for larger container ships 24-hours per day
  • Give us more operational agility: 6 Wharf is used for both container and cruise ships, and is capable of supporting twin lift gantry cranes if required in the future
  • Improves operational resilience: 6 Wharf’s design improves the Port’s potential resilience to a significant seismic event

Read more about why we need 6 Wharf in our justification report.

Building sustainably and in partnership

We spent over two years consulting on the project, commissioning specialists reports and preparing an in-depth assessment of environmental effects (AEE)  before applying for consents.

We worked with key stakeholders to produce best-practice management plans to manage and monitor the potential impacts of construction and dredging, and ensure 6 Wharf benefits our community and is the best it can be for the environment. Read more about how we built sustainably and in partnership.