NEW Zealand’s Port Nelson has ordered a new Damen AST Tug 2411 as part of a $29m capital expenditure commitment, which also includes redevelopment of its Main Wharf North berth.

Port Nelson chairman Phil Lough said the expenditure would help to ensure Port Nelson could meet the demands of larger vessels calling at the Port as well as improving earthquake resilience for the region.

“This Main Wharf North project will complete a rebuild program that commenced in 1998 with the building of a 120-metre length of Main Wharf South, to which a further 60 metres was added in 2008” Mr Lough said.

A further 100 metres of wharf, the majority of which is almost 100 years old, will be rebuilt to a strength of 100 tonnes axle load, which will then give Port Nelson a full heavy-duty berth of 280 metres in length.

This will ensure the port is able to meet the demands of visits by larger container and cruise vessels for the foreseeable future.

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It will also mean based on work undertaken as part of an ongoing resilience planning project, that Port Nelson will have a berth capable of standing up to damage that could occur as the result of a major earthquake allowing the importation of emergency supplies and fuel, critical in times of emergency, to continue.

Planning work on the wharf development is likely to commence in early 2019 with contractors likely to be on site around July 2019 to commence groundworks and the project due for completion in mid-2020.

The yet-to-be-named tug has is to replace two tugs from the port’s existing fleet.

Mr Phil Lough said the tug’s 70 tonnes bollard pull would give the port the necessary power to berth larger vessels. He said the tug would enable the port to extend berthing and sailing windows.

Damen sales manager Sjoerd de Bruin, speaking on the occasion of the contract signing for the new tug, said, “It is a privilege to support Port Nelson with the increased tug capabilities they require for their port expansion. We wish the port and all those working there safe and successful operations”.

The new tug is expected to be delivered in April.

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