THE ENVIRONMENT Court of New Zealand has issued Port of Tauranga with an interim decision provisionally granting resource consent for the first stage of a wharf extension.

The decision covers Stage 1 of the planned expansion of Sulphur Point wharf, the location of Tauranga Container Terminal.

Port of Tauranga noted the decision is still subject to “further matters” being addressed to the satisfaction of the court.

Stage 1 of involves constructing 285 metres of additional berth to the south of the port’s existing container berths, as well as associated dredging.

Decisions on whether to grant consents for Stage 2 of the Sulphur Point wharf extension, and for proposed works at the Mount Maunganui wharves, are reserved pending the provision of further information.

Port of Tauranga chief executive Leonard Sampson said the release of the interim decision was welcome progress.

“We have some work to do over the next six months but we are grateful to be taking the next steps in what has been a long and gruelling process,” he said.

“The project remains a critical piece of national infrastructure and we are keen to move as quickly as possible in meeting the needs of New Zealand importers and exporters.”

The Tauranga Container Terminal currently features 770 metres of heavy-duty wharf, eight container cranes and 38 hectares of paved container yard.