FAQs

Frequently asked questions

Got a query about 6 Wharf? We’ve answered the most commonly asked questions.

If you can’t find the answer here, get in touch with us. You can also sign up to receive 6 Wharf updates to keep up-to-date with the project.

Napier Port has secured resource consents to build a new wharf (6 Wharf) at the northern end of our container terminal.

6 Wharf will enable the port to handle more and larger ships so we can support continued regional and customer growth.

It will help to reduce congestion, give us the ability to handle larger vessels, extend our container vessel capacity, allow us to berth all vessels 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 vessels 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 at the end of 2022 (calendar year).

The development includes a 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 and are scheduled to start in mid-2020 and finish in the second half of 2021.

In the future, Napier Port may need to deepen and extend the shipping channel from 12.5 metres deep to 14.5 metres deep. This is stages two to five of our dredging programme and will only occur as larger ships come here (we have resource consents for 35 years).

Read the full resource consent decision and application here.

Find out more about construction and dredging and disposal.

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, vessels 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 vessel capacity
  • Allow berthing for larger container vessels 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.

Yes. Container vessels in particular are getting longer, wider and deeper. We’re also seeing this occurring in bulk vessels and in the cruise area as well. Five years ago, the average cruise vessel was in the region of 260 metres.

The next generation of cruise vessels, the Oasis Class, is around 360 metres long and we’ve been told to expect those to arrive here in about four years. Large cruise ship visits are worth approximately $1 million in passenger spend to the Hawke’s Bay economy – we cannot afford to let them sail past.

Napier Port secured six resource consents to build 6 Wharf and the related dredging programme in November 2018 so we can welcome more and bigger ships amidst significant regional growth.

Read the announcement
Read the resource consent decision

Napier Port has secured funding for 6 Wharf through a partial listing on the NZX  and in partnership with stakeholders, such as the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, mana whenua and the fishing community,  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.

HEB construction is building the wharf. They started construction in early 2020 and plan to finish at the end of 2022 (calendar year).

The development includes a 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 and are scheduled to start in mid-2020 and finish in the second half of 2021.

Napier Port already undertakes ongoing maintenance dredging around our wharves and the shipping channel to keep berths at the required depths.

For the 6 Wharf project, we have resource consents to undertake capital (new) dredging so ships can safely use the wharf.

We are currently focused on stage one of our planned dredging programme. For ships to use 6 Wharf, we need to create a berth pocket that is 13.0 metres deep and a slope underneath the wharf to place the shore protection.

We also need to deepen and create a larger swinging basin (where ships turn), dredge parts of the inner harbour and deepen the shipping channel closest to the port to 12.5 metres. This stage involves dredging and disposing approximately 1.3 million cubic metres of material. We plan to start dredging in mid-2020 and finish in the second half of 2021.

Visit our Dredging and Disposal page for further information and our dredging and disposal maps.

The resource consents allow us to create a new berth pocket and deepen the shipping channel from its previous consented maximum of 12.8 metres to a maximum of 14.5 metres.

We are currently focused on stage one of our planned dredging programme. For ships to use 6 Wharf, we need to create a berth pocket that is 13.0 metres deep and a slope underneath the wharf to place the shore protection.

We also need to deepen and create a larger swinging basin (where ships turn), dredge parts of the inner harbour and deepen the shipping channel closest to the port to 12.5 metres. This stage involves dredging and disposing approximately 1.3 million cubic metres of material.

Stages two to five dredging will only take place as required (we’ve secured resource consents for 35 years).

Visit our Dredging and Disposal page for further information and our dredging and disposal maps.

The bulk of the material to be removed from the sea floor in stage one is consolidated stiff silt and mudstone. This requires a type of dredge called a backhoe dredge.

The backhoe dredge is a stabilised floating pontoon with a long-reach hydraulic excavator, which excavates the seabed and places the material onto a barge.  The barge is towed by a tug to the disposal area. A continuous process of barges moving back and forth will ensure the planned dredging and disposal maximises the use of the dredging equipment.

A trailing suction hopper dredge will be used for a small portion of stage one. These types of dredges are used for finer material, such as sand.  A trailing suction hopper dredge would also be used in stages two to five of the project, if they go ahead.

Following detailed investigations and community consultation, we have secured resource consents to deposit the dredged material from stage one of our planned dredging programme at a new disposal site. The site is approximately five kilometres east of the port. At 20 metres deep, the material is less likely to be disturbed by wave motion during storms. The prevailing currents head south, away from Pania Reef.

A total of 17 separate specialist reports, as well as an overall assessment of environmental effects (AEE), were prepared as part of the resource consent applications. They showed that the adverse impacts of the project are all minor or less, and that there will be significant benefits.

You can read the consent application and decision to see what the resource consents cover and find the individual technical studies and reports in our library.

We’ve been working with key stakeholders to prepare best practice management plans to manage any potential adverse effects from construction and dredging.

These plans are publicly available in the library and build on the reports and studies we commissioned prior to applying for resource consent and include the following:

  • Marine Wildlife Management Plan to ensure we avoid, mitigate or remedy the potential for adverse effects on marine mammals.
  • Marine Cultural Health Programme, prepared in consultation with mana whenua hapū to ensure the cultural health of the marine environment, particularly Pānia Reef.
  • Construction Noise Management Plan and a Traffic Management Plan which outlines how we will manage land-based construction noise, underwater noise, and traffic to and from the area.
  • Avian Management Plan to ensure we protect birdlife, such as the kororā or little blue penguin that nests on-port.
  • Dredging and Disposal Management Plan, which outlines our dredging programme and how we will avoid or mitigate against adverse effects and monitor compliance with the consents.
  • Water Quality Management Plan to address how we will manage the impacts of dredging on water quality.
  • Biosecurity Management Plan, which identifies how we will avoid the incursion of unwanted organisms in the marine environment.

No. In section 23 of the Assessment of Environmental Effects, we summarise the actual and potential effects that have been identified as associated with 6 Wharf.

No cumulative adverse effects were identified. All physical and coastal effects are within the range of natural variability and the potential effects on recreational fishing, beach use, coastal access, boating and surfing are either none or negligible. In terms of surfing, there may be a minor benefit on the closest break.

We’ve been very conscious of protecting community interests in the design of this project. Before applying for resource consents, we undertook early and extensive consultation with a range of groups representing recreational activities occurring around the port, including fishers, divers, surfers and boaties, to better understand their concerns and ensure they were addressed in the design of the project.

At meetings with these groups, we worked through the studies we were doing into potential impacts and where there were concerns that we weren’t addressing specifically, we endeavoured to include them in the studies as they were being carried out.

In some cases, the project design has been changed to address concerns or mitigations have been proposed.

An example of this was the concerns raised by mana whenua about the potential impact to Pania Reef and by fishers around the potential impact to fishing areas. As a result, a new offshore disposal area was examined and is now the newly consented offshore disposal area for capital and maintenance dredging.

Napier Port is very conscious of the cultural values and taonga within Te Matau a Māui.

We’re committed to working in partnership with mana whenua hapū to protect these values through the development of the Marine Cultural Health Programme.

The Marine Cultural Health Programme is being developed by a steering komiti – a rōpū (group) of representatives from different marae, hapū and mana whenua entities within the development area – to protect, monitor and assess the cultural health of the marine environment, particularly Pania Reef, during the planned 6 Wharf project.

Prior to applying for resource consents, with help from Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, Napier Port staff held kanohi ki te kanohi hui (face-to-face meetings) with a number of hapū representatives to explain the project and understand concerns.

Ngati Pārau was recommended as the key facilitator for a Cultural Impact Assessment (CIA), which has been integral to the project as we know it today.

The Cultural Impact Assessment has guided our approach to date and has resulted in the following:

  1. It helped us to identify the potential impacts the project may have on the mauri and natural resources of the rohe – in particular on Pania Reef, as the embodiment of the sea maiden Pania.
  2. We have a greater understanding of the reef’s importance for the gathering of kaimoana as a designated mahinga mātaitai for customary fishing that is used for kina, koura and kūta.
  3. We understand how important it is from a cultural perspective that we protect other taonga such as the kororā (little blue penguin) during construction and dredging.
  4. Through the Cultural Impact Assessment, hapū indicated they wished to become involved in any quality assurance programme and kept informed during the project. This led us to establish the the steering komiti and the Marine Cultural Health Programme we are working on today.
  5. Importantly, the Cultural Impact Assessment also supported our shift to a new disposal site for dredged material. A major concern for mana whenua hapū  was the impact that the dredging and disposal may have on the mauri and wellbeing of Pania Reef. These concerns led us to undertake further scientific modelling and change the disposal site for the project to one that greatly reduces the chance that dredged material will drift onto Pania Reef. Evidence shows that the disposal site we are now using will have minimal effects on the reef due to its depth, which means sediment is less likely to be disturbed by adverse weather, and the prevailing south-directed current will take material away from the reef. You can read more about the Marine Cultural Health Programme here.

Napier Port welcomes community use of the beach and members of the community will be able to continue using this beach during the planned development. Investigations into wave action, coastal processes and dredging show that there will be negligible impacts anywhere from the construction of the wharf and the dredging.

Heron Construction and Dredging are the sub-contractor for the stage one dredging work and are scheduled to start in mid-2020 and finish in the second half of 2021.

For ships to use 6 Wharf, we need to create a berth pocket that is 13.0 metres deep and a slope underneath the wharf to place the shore protection.
We also need to deepen and create a larger swinging basin (where ships turn), dredge parts of the inner harbour and deepen the shipping channel closest to the port to 12.5 metres. This stage involves dredging and disposing approximately 1.3 million cubic metres of material.

Stages two to five dredging will only take place as required.

This part of the project would allow the port to handle ships with deeper drafts and is not required at this stage. The resource consents we have to undertake this work are valid for 35 years. We will only undertake this work if ships with deeper drafts indicate they are going to call at Napier Port.

It would involve extending the shipping channel and increasing its depth in four stages. Each stage would take up to nine weeks, with the channel being deepened 0.5 metre at a time, taking it to a maximum depth of 14.5 metres. Each stage would involve dredging and disposing a similar volume of material; the overall total being around 3.2 million cubic metres.

See more on dredging and disposal here.

Napier Port has done extensive modelling of how the dredge material will behave, both when being dredged and when being placed into the offshore disposal site. A maintenance dredging campaign in 2017 was an opportunity to demonstrate that the models work.

When dredging is taking place, conditions such as weather, currents and the dredge plume will be closely monitored. Modelling shows there is a very remote chance that the dredge plume could reach Pania Reef but the real-time environmental monitoring we will be doing will enable us to halt dredging if it started to head in that direction.

Longer term, Napier Port will continue to undertake regular checks of the shipping channel, dredge disposal area and Pania Reef, to make sure that the environment is not being adversely impacted by any material moving from the disposal area. Such monitoring will include scientists diving on the reef and disposal area to check for any ecological changes in the areas, and surveys of the shape of the seafloor.

We’re also protecting the cultural health of the marine environment through the Marine Cultural Health Programme.

We considered a range of different options to meet our needs, from not making any changes and reorganising of the use of the existing wharves, to expanding the current breakwater and further reclamation, whilst also looking at other sites for a new berth within the port.

The planned 6 Wharf project is the most flexible, balanced and economically prudent option, with the best outcome all round. This has been confirmed by the justification report and other technical studies, which you can read in our library.

Yes. Napier Port takes how its impact on the surrounding community seriously. We have completed studies on the impacts of noise on our neighbours.

These show that potential impacts from noise, vibration and construction traffic will be no more than minor (will meet all standards in residential areas). Long term, operational noise will continue to be subject to the current port noise restrictions set out in the Napier City District Plan and is not expected to breach these standards. This is in part because the location of the new wharf is away from residential areas.

We’ve produced a noise management plan and construction traffic management plan and are  committed to keeping the nearby community informed about the various stages of the construction programme.

We’ve also undertaken studies to investigate how pile-driving and other construction noise may impact on marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins and seals. These studies show any effects are negligible.

We’ve also produced a Marine Wildlife Management Plan to ensure we avoid, mitigate or remedy the potential for adverse effects on marine mammals. This includes monitoring for marine mammals in the area and encouraging marine mammals to move away from the construction noise.

Read more about noise and traffic management here.

We commissioned international engineering consultancy MWH (now called Stantec) to undertake an independent review of the impact our development could have on roading and traffic.

They found that increased traffic flows during the construction phase will be well within the capability of our current roading infrastructure and intersections. You can read more about how we are managing construction traffic here.

We’re committed to keeping the community informed throughout the project. If you have a question, suggestion or complaint, please get in touch with us. You can also stay up-to-date with the project by signing up to receive our 6 Wharf updates.

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