About 6 Wharf

Building 6 Wharf for 2022

Napier Port has a major project underway to build a new wharf  so we can support continued growth for our region and our customers.

6 Wharf will help 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 will be 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 is building the wharf. They started construction in early 2020 and plan to finish in late 2022 (calendar year).

The development includes a capital (new) dredging programme to create a new turning area and ensure ships can safely use the wharf. Heron Construction and Dredging are 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, is currently in the final stages of completion and will connect the new wharf to Napier Port’s existing Container Terminal.

Once complete, the wider 6 Wharf project will move into the final pre-operations stage involving wet commissioning (berthing ships) and container exchange trials, ahead of the wharf opening for business.

About this map

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

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

We plan to start construction early 2020 (calendar year) and complete the wharf in the second half of 2022.

Stage one dredging is planned from mid-2020.

So ships can use 6 Wharf we need to create a berth pocket to a depth of 13.0 metres and create a slope underneath the wharf where the shore protection will be placed. We also need 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 involves dredging and disposing approximately 1.3 million cubic metres of dredged material.

Stages two to five dredging is not required in the next few years while we build 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 has 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 over the past few years shows that this is the best disposal site to minimise any impact from dredging and disposal. At 20 to 23 metres deep, material disposed here has less chance of being disturbed by adverse weather events. The prevailing south-directed current also takes sediment away from Pania Reef, and minimises 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’ve designed the dredging project to preserve the mauri of the reef and ensure sediment plume created by planned dredging will not threaten the reef and ecology. We’ll also be undertaking environmental monitoring, which will 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) remain in place and will continue to track conditions, such as water clarity in real-time to ensure our planned dredging is not impacting the existing ecology of Pania Reef. We’ll adapt dredging operations based on conditions at the time.

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’ve undertaken research to understand and protect the species and their habitat and have prepared an Avian Management Plan with the Department of Conservation, mana whenua and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to ensure we protect the kororā and other  birdlife during construction.

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

Why we need 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 is growing rapidly. We’ve reached a tipping point and need a new wharf for two main reasons:

1. We’ve run out of berth space
At the moment, ships sometimes have to wait for wharf space. 6 Wharf will help to reduce congestion and improve operating efficiency by reducing secondary vessel movements (temporarily moving vessels off wharves to accommodate other vessels).

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

Other benefits of 6 Wharf

6 Wharf will also:

  • Extend the Port’s container ship capacity
  • Allowing berthing for larger container ships 24-hours per day
  • Give us more operational agility: 6 Wharf will be used for both container and cruise ships, and will be capable of supporting twin lift gantry cranes if required in the future
  • Improve 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.

Where are we at in the project?

We have appointed a main contractor, HEB Construction, to build the wharf. HEB is scheduled to start during the first quarter of 2020 (calendar year) and are currently undertaking preliminary work to establish the construction site, and order and deliver materials. Read more about where we are in the process here.

Before proceeding with plans to build a new wharf, Napier Port considered a range of options.

Building 6 Wharf was the most flexible, balanced and economically prudent option to help the port meet the growth in cargo expected and the increase in ship numbers and size.

We then began scientific investigations, commissioning technical reports and designing 6 Wharf. We invested in one of the largest bodies of scientific study ever done on Hawke’s Bay’s marine environment.

In March 2016 we started pre-consultation, engaging with more than 2,000 members of the community. This included presentations, hui, drop-in sessions, and producing information and collateral such as a project portal website and a letterbox drop.

As a result of the studies and feedback, we made changes to the project, including where we will deposit dredged material.

When we knew the project was the best it could for our economy, the environment and the community, we lodged our resource consent applications with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council in December 2017.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier Port’s owner, held pre-hearing meetings in July 2018. They voted to undertake a Capital Structure Review and consultation with the community about options to fund the development. The council undertook its consultation during October and November 2018, attracting 3,500 submissions.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council published public reports on the first two pre-hearings regarding Napier Port’s application, which you  can read  here.
They also appointed three independent commissioners to review Napier Port’s six resource consent applications.

The three independent commissioners reviewed the applications. Hearings were held and adjourned 21 to 24 August and were then reconvened and adjourned in September with the hearing closing in October.

Napier Port’s resource consent applications to build an additional wharf on its container terminal and carry out further dredging were approved and the following six resource consents granted:

  • CL180008C: To construct a new wharf (Wharf 6) and undertake associated activities.
  • CL180009E: To undertake Stage 1 capital dredging beneath the proposed new wharf, in the inner port area, swinging basin and part of the Deep Water Channel.
  • CL180010E: To undertake Stages 2 to 5 capital dredging within the inner port area, swing basin, in and near the existing three channels and to form a new channel.
  • CL180011E: To undertake maintenance dredging within the areas for which capital dredging permits are sought (Stages 1 to 5).
  • CL180012W: To dispose of dredged material from capital and maintenance dredging within an offshore area shown in the application.
  • CL180013O: To occupy the marine coastal area for existing port activities (replacing the existing coastal permits held by Port of Napier to occupy an area for Port purposes), the proposed new wharf, the adjacent berth pocket, and the new swinging basin, as shown in the plan attached to the application. You can read the decision in our library.

The Regional Council made its decision to further develop a minority share of Napier Port being floated on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (with local participation a priority) to help fund 6 Wharf and future development for Napier Port. This option was the most popular with the community.

Comprehensive papers including analysis of submission feedback and a review of the consultation assisted in the decision-making, which you can read here.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council approved Napier Port to proceed with a 45 per cent IPO of shares, which included a priority offer for Hawke’s Bay residents and non-resident ratepayers, iwi and Port staff. Read more here.

Napier Port’s shares commences trading on the NZX, which you can read about here.

Napier Port officially opened the first on-port sanctuary of its kind in New Zealand that will protect the kororā/little blue penguin, an at-risk and declining species, during 6 Wharf and beyond. Read more here.

In partnership with stakeholders, such as the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, mana whenua and the fishing community, the port has produced comprehensive and best practice management plans to ensure it protects the environment and cultural values during the project. This includes marine mammals, the kororā (little blue penguin) that nest on-port, cultural values of mana whenua, water quality, fisheries and fauna. Read more about the management plans here.

The port is undertook preliminary work (procuring materials such as concrete and pile casings) and established the construction site with HEB Construction.

An official ground-breaking ceremony was held on February 2020 and construction of the new wharf commenced.

The development includes a dredging programme to create a new vessel turning area and ensure vessels can safely use the wharf. Heron Construction and Dredging, the sub-contractor, started in mid-2020 and completed the programme in April 2022. Read more about dredging here.

Physical construction of the wharf commenced in early 2020 (calendar year). Assuming no significant weather-related delays or other unforeseen circumstances, construction and dredging should be complete and the new wharf ready to receive its first ship in the second half of the 2022 financial year. Read more about construction here.

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, is currently in the final stages of completion and will connect the new wharf to Napier Port’s existing Container Terminal.

Once complete, the wider 6 Wharf project will move into the final pre-operations stage involving wet commissioning (berthing ships) and container exchange trials. The wharf will be open for business in mid-2022.

The second part of the 6 Wharf project will future-proof the port to handle the next generation of ship sizes and will only take place as required (we’ve secured resource consents for 35 years).

Container ships have doubled in size over the last 10 years and the trend towards ships getting bigger continues.

This part of the project will involve extending the channel and increasing its depth by 0.5 metre each stage to a maximum depth of 14.5 metres.

Each of the stages will take eight to nine weeks and involve dredging and disposing a similar volume of material; the overall total being approximately 3.2 million cubic metres.

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’ve been working 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 are building sustainably and in partnership.