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Maersk evaluating Timaru port for future giant ship berths

Monday, 03 June 2019 | 20:00

The world’s largest shipping and logistics company looks set to drop its anchors in Timaru following a visit from the largest ship ever to berth at the port.

The town’s port would definitely see more ships like the massive Rio de Janeiro, which berthed here on May 26, if that trial run proves successful, Maersk says.

Maersk Oceania area product manager Greg Paradine said it had recently customised its services to accommodate New Zealand ports such as Tauranga, Napier, Lyttelton and Port Chalmers.

Timaru could be next on that list after the Rio de Janeiro’s stop over late last month, he said.

Paradine confirmed that last year’s $2.5 million project to widen the Timaru port’s inner breakwater entrance from 90m to 140m to allow for easier access for bigger vessels had played a significant role in getting the Rio de Janeiro in port.

“Recent investments at PrimePort Timaru has enabled us to perform the one-off test call and we are now in the process of fully evaluating the results of this test and any potential future network adjustments,” he said.

The breakwater project, which removed a rock wall and dug out the approach at the entrance of the harbour, ended early in 2019.

Paradine said to improve Maersk’s efficiency in New Zealand their larger ships were now docking at smaller harbours.

“Maersk upgraded our weekly Southern Star service in early 2019 with the introduction of five ‘Rio Class’ vessels calling at Tauranga, Napier, Lyttelton and Port Chalmers.

“As part of our continuous focus to drive network efficiencies across all the ports we serve in New Zealand, we are exploring if the ‘Rio Class’ vessels are able to call at other ports.”

PrimePort chief executive Phil Melhopt said the Rio’s berthing in Timaru was a significant first step in an approval process for the bigger ships.

“This will give us the option commercially to welcome vessels of similar size specifically to berth in Timaru.”

He said once approved, the berthing of larger sized vessels would give the port “greater flexibility”.

“This will prove to be another feather in our cap.”

The monster Singapore-flagged Rio de Janeiro, is 286.5 metres long, 40m wide and capable of carrying nearly 6000 containers.

Paradine said globally Maersk operated a network consisting of more than 600 container vessels and operated liners much larger than the Rio de Janeiro, which when fully laden weighs around 80,000 tonnes.

“The largest Maersk vessels (Triple-E class) are able to carry more than 20,000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit), whereas the largest vessels calling New Zealand (port of Tauranga) can carry up to 9,500 TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit).”
Source: Stuff

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