Frequently asked questions

Got a query about our project? We’ve answered the most commonly asked questions here.

If you can’t find the answer here, email us at communications@napierport.co.nz

Napier Port is seeking resource consents to build a new wharf at the northern end of the container terminal. It will be long enough (350 metres) and deep enough to handle larger vessels and will require the dredging of a berth pocket and swing basin. Two ‘dolphins’ or separate bollards will enable ships as long as 360 metres to berth there. As larger ships come, Napier Port may need to deepen and extend the shipping channel from its current depth of 12.5 metres to 14.5 metres.

Napier Port is the busiest port in central New Zealand, processing more containers than Wellington and Nelson combined in the year to 30 September 2018 (Source: Ministry of Transport Freight Information Gathering System).

The port is an important element of Hawke’s Bay’s export-led economy and demand for wharf space is growing. The additional wharf would increase our capacity to handle the ‘Wall of Wood’ hitting as local forests reach maturity and a significant increase in apples and other horticultural produce. Getting Hawke’s Bay products to market is vital to the continued growth of the region’s economy.

The size of ships coming to New Zealand is steadily increasing and Napier Port has reached capacity for the size of ships we can take in the inner port. We have to have a wharf large enough for those ships or they will bypass Napier and our exporters will be disadvantaged, adversely impacting the regional economy.

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. We recently welcomed the largest cruise vessel New Zealand has ever seen – Ovation of the Seas. At 348 metres long, she is the largest ship Napier Port can berth inside the harbour. 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. With passengers spending on average $227 a day, a large cruise ship is worth approximately $1 million in passenger spend to the Hawke’s Bay economy – we cannot afford to let them sail past.

Yes. Each year, Napier Port receives around seven enquiries from cruise lines wanting to call here and we simply cannot accommodate them because we do not have enough room.

As container and bulk cargo vessels get larger, we will also start to have trouble moving them within our harbour.

Napier Port has spent around two years discussing the proposals with the community and commissioning technical reports to support the resource consent applications.

In December 2017, Napier Port lodged its applications with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC). Staff reviewed the application and it was formally notified under the Resource Management Act for submissions.

Submissions closed on 1 May 2018. HBRC staff and independent advisers have written a report (called a Section 42A report), and a hearing was held by three independent commissioners in August. The hearing has been adjourned for a short time while additional information is considered.

Napier Port needs the new wharf to be operational by 2022. It’s expected to take two years to construct the wharf, so we are hoping to begin work by 2020. The dredging will take place progressively over a longer period.

From the outset of the project, Napier Port made understanding stakeholder and community views a priority. We knew the more information we had, the better the project would be.

During the consultation process, Napier Port directly engaged with more than 2,000 people through drop-in sessions, port tours, presentations to community groups and business organisations, customers and local authorities. Many thousands more heard about the project through information distributed through the media or direct to local letterboxes. Napier Port also received and answered hundreds of questions via a feedback portal on its website. To see more on our early consultation process, see the Consultation Report here.

The information gathered through that process has had a direct impact on the final proposal. The project details have been changed to reflect this. New information supported by best-practice science, in particular the decision to move the disposal area for dredged material to east of the port, has resulted from a combination of public input and detailed investigations and modelling.

Napier Port already undertakes ongoing maintenance dredging around its wharves and the shipping channel to keep berths at the required depths. We currently have a consented maximum depth of up to 12.8 metres and we are looking to dredge in stages to a new maximum of 14.5 metres and to extend the shipping channel.  See more on dredging stages here.

The applications seek consents to provide a new berth pocket and deepen the shipping channel from its current consented maximum of 12.8 metres to a maximum of 14.5 metres.

The softer material is expected to be removed by suction and mechanical excavation of the harder material using a combination of back-hoe dredge (BHD) with barges and a trailer suction hopper dredge (TSHD). See more on the dredging process here.

Utilising and expanding the current disposal areas near Westshore Beach was our initial proposal. However, extensive discussions with some organisations and further scientific investigation revealed a range of issues with the large volume of material being disposed of in this location. It also confirmed that there has been little benefit to coastal processes at Westshore from the current maintenance disposal site located near Westshore Beach.

The site proposed in the application is approximately 5km east of the port. Approximately 3 million cubic metres of dredged material will be placed there, which is mostly very fine sand or silty material. The sea bed in the proposed disposal location has been investigated and has been found to be made up of similar material. At 20 metres deep, it is less likely to be disturbed by wave motion during storms, and 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), have been prepared as part of the resource consent applications. They show that the adverse impacts of the project are all minor or less, and that there will be significant benefits. See the consent application pages to see what the applications cover and find the individual reports here.

No. Through pre-consultation, Napier Port spoke with and listened to a range of groups representing recreational activities occurring around the port, including fishers, divers, surfers and boaties. During meetings with those groups, we worked through the studies we were doing into potential impacts on those activities. Where there were concerns that hadn’t been addressed 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.

In section 25 of the assessment of environmental effects (AEE) we have summarised the key concerns and the steps where Napier Port proposed and carried out further studies. Many of the concerns were also addressed in specific technical reports as set out in full under Volume 3 of the supporting information. An example of this was the concerns raised by fishers about the potential impact to fishing areas in the near shore areas to Westshore and the potential impact upon Pania Reef. As a result, a new offshore disposal area was examined and has now been proposed as the new offshore disposal area for capital and maintenance dredging.

At the start of the project, Napier Port identified local Māori as key stakeholders in the project and set about identifying which hapū groups it needed to work with. 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. Ngati Pārau, Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust and Mana Ahuriri Trust were identified as key stakeholders. Ngati Pārau, which whakapapa back to Pania (of the reef) was recommended as the key facilitator for a Cultural Impact Assessment. Napier Port commenced working directly with all three groups, as well as presenting to other Māori organisations. As the project progressed, the key hapū groups were kept informed and had access to relevant studies as they were completed, to help inform their views. The Cultural Impact Assessment is included in the studies forming part of the applications.

The wharf, extended swinging basin, and the deeper channel proposed will not impact on the beach on the western side of the port, which is owned by Napier Port. The wharf is proposed to be constructed on the northern edge of the existing container terminal, well away from the beach.

The beach is highly popular and Napier Port has supported the amenity of this community asset, including providing a beach shower and landscaping. Members of the community will be able to continue using this beach.

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.

Up to 3.2 million m3 of capital (or ‘new’) dredged material is planned to be removed from the shipping channel, swing basin and berth over the full project. Rather than carry out this work all at once, we proposed to do the capital dredging in five stages.

Stage 1 will be within the proposed new wharf, in the inner port area, swinging basin and part of the deep water channel.

Stages 2 to 5 will include, in addition to deepening much of the Stage 1 areas, the formation and deepening over time of a new channel near to the existing three channels. See more on dredging here.

Napier Port has done extensive modelling of how the dredge material will behave, both when being dredged and when being placed. 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 to Pania Reef, but the monitoring approach proposed in the draft conditions of consent would see dredging halted 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.

Napier Port has considered a range of different options to meet its needs, from not making any changes and reorganisation of the use of the existing wharves, to expanding the current breakwater and further reclamations, whilst also looking at other sites for a new berth within the port.

Our preferred option is the most flexible, balanced and economically prudent option, with the best outcome all round. This has been confirmed by the technical studies included in the application.

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

These show that during construction, the ‘predicted noise levels’ (for example, pile driving) will meet construction noise standards. 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 will also be preparing a noise management plan for the construction stage, and will keep the nearby community informed about the various stages of the construction programme.

The studies also investigated how pile-driving and other construction noise may impact on marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins and seals. The applications propose ways to minimise the impact, including monitoring for marine mammals in the area and encouraging marine mammals to move away from the construction noise.

Submissions have now closed, but if you’d like to discuss the project, you can email us at communications@napierport.co.nz.

You can see all the resource consent applications and technical studies on our website.