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CentrePort to pay special dividend

CentrePort is paying its shareholders a special dividend of $15 million as the company continues to progress its regeneration.

Chairman Lachie Johnstone says with CentrePort’s strong balance sheet and having successfully finalised the Kaikoura Earthquake claims in 2019, the company is in the position to pay the special dividend to its shareholders – Greater Wellington Regional Council and Horizons Regional Council.*

The impact of the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake meant CentrePort paid lower than planned dividends totalling $11.7m during the financial years spanning 2017-2020.

"The $15 million restores the dividend pay-out to 50 percent of underlying Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) over that period (i.e., $26.7 million).

"CentrePort has performed strongly since the Kaikoura quake in 2016, and despite the headwinds because of COVID, CentrePort’s trades have been growing.  Cruise remains on hold while the Government ban on international arrivals remains in place.

"The company is investing in infrastructure to benefit customers, the community, the environment and its shareholders.   CentrePort’s regeneration is progressing well to deliver a resilient 21st century logistics supply chain asset vital for the prosperity of central New Zealand,” said Johnstone.

Regeneration progress in the past year includes:

  • The return of container cargo by rail onto port after four years with the reinstatement of rail infrastructure damaged by the Kaikoura earthquake.
  • Progress on the $38.6 million Thorndon Container Wharf reinstatement project that will double the operational width of the gantry cranes to increase operational capacity to meet customer requirements.
  • The arrival and impending commissioning of 100 percent electric tractor and trailer units for the container service operations that will lower carbon emissions and improve operational efficiency.
  • Expansion of the Waingawa log yard capacity from 9,000 tonnes to 16,000 tonnes and procurement of additional land for further expansion.
  • Ground resilience improvements throughout the port including installation of more than 1000 stone columns, and continued demolition of damaged / redundant structures creating thousands of square metres of additional operational space.

 *[CentrePort pays dividends via holding companies of Greater Wellington Regional Council and Horizons Regional Council – WRC Holdings Limited and MWRC Holdings Limited respectively]


CentrePort is undertaking work to remove a build-up of sand in Wellington Harbour to ensure shipping has sufficient depth to operate, improving safety and efficiency.

CentrePort General Manager Logistics Mark Thompson says ridges of sand have built up over several years in two areas of the shipping channels in the entrance to the harbour and need to be removed to improve the safe and efficient movement of vessels.

“The build-up has been caused by propeller wash in two areas located in stretch of water between Pencarrow Head and Seatoun which means deep draft ships are having to deviate from the usual entry and exit routes.

“Removing the sand will return the harbour to its original depth in those two areas allowing ships to use the established entry and exit shipping lanes,” Thompson said.

The Dutch Dredging company vessel Albatros will do the work which is scheduled to begin Thursday 22 April and take three-to-six days to complete.

“Wellington is the busiest shipping harbour in New Zealand with more than 7000 commercial vessel movements (inter-island ferries, container vessels, fuel tankers, bulk cargo vessels) every year,” said Thompson.

Approximately 22,000 cubic metres of sand will be removed to return the channels to their previous depth. The sand will be deposited at a site near CentrePort’s Thorndon Container Wharf – previously used for depositing dredged material from the berths at Aotea Quay following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.

Greater Wellington Regional Council has granted resource consent for the project covering areas such as care for the environment, maintenance of health and safety, and engagement with Te Whanganui a Tara iwi.

This is the first shipping channel maintenance required in Wellington Harbour since 1968 when 264,000 cubic metres was removed. Most New Zealand commercial ports require the regular removal of built-up material annually.


Why is the channel maintenance necessary?

Sand caused by propeller wash has built up in two areas of Wellington Harbour in shipping lanes used by vessels to enter and depart Wellington Harbour.

This has reduced the depth of the Harbour in these relatively small areas (1045m x 85m wide, and 500m x80m) to less than the required minimum for safe clearance for deep draft vessels. These vessels are currently having to navigate around the shallow areas which is inefficient and reduces options in case other shipping needs to change course.

The work will return the shipping channels to their previous depth.


How will the material be removed and where will it go?

The vessel Albatros operated by the company Dutch Dredging will do the work. A pipe is lowered to the targeted areas and the sand is sucked up onto the vessel. The vessel will make a series of trips to an area off Thorndon Container Wharf to deposit the material. This area was used for depositing sand following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.


Why has the deposit site off Thorndon Container Wharf been chosen?

The site was previously consented in 2017 for depositing material removed from the berth pocket at Aotea Quay following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. The site was chosen because of its depth and stability. The site is not impacted by currents and ship movements which means the material does not drift to other parts of the harbour.


How long will it take?

The work is scheduled to take three-to-six days depending on weather and sea conditions. The Albatros hours of operation will be between 6am and 6pm.


Will it cause any disruption to commercial shipping/recreational use of the harbour?

There will be no disruption. CentrePort and the Harbour Master will keep harbour users informed of the work. The sound levels will be no greater than usual commercial shipping activity.


What about the environment?

The project has been granted resource consent by the Greater Wellington Regional Council.   This includes managing operations to protect the marine environment.  

Environmental scientists and the Department of Conservation were part of the review of aquatic ecology impacts to ensure preservation of marine flaura and fauna.

Wellington Water was involved in the consenting process to ensure there is no risk to mapped aquaifiers / springs.


How does this work compare to previous Wellington Harbour maintenance?

This is a small project in comparison to previous removal of material in shipping channels in Wellington Habour. The previous maintenance was in 1968 when 264,000 cubic metres of material was removed – 13 times the amount of material that may be removed in this work. The original dredging of the harbour took seven years (1904-1911) when 7.8 million cubic metres of material was removed.


Why is the maintenance of the shipping channels in an out of Wellington Harbour important?

The movement of maritime traffic is critical to our economy and the movement of people between the North and South Islands. Ensuring the channels are maintained at the appropriate depth ensures the safe and efficient movement of shipping.

Wellington is the busiest commercial shipping harbour in New Zealand. Between ferries taking people and cargo between the North and South Islands, container ships carrying imports and exports, and fuel tankers and bulk cargo vessels delivering vital cargoes, there are more than 7,000 ship movements per annum in Wellington Harbour.

That activity is critical to the prosperity of not just Wellington, but the New Zealand economy. Over a million people travel by ferry between the Islands each year, and cargo valued at $20bn is transported per annum.

Channel maintenance infographic

Channel maintenance location

Channel maintenance deposit site

Route to and from maintenance and deposit sites

CentrePort Regeneration – Thorndon Container Wharf Reinstatement Project

A project to reinstate operational capacity of CentrePort’s Thorndon Container Wharf has commenced.

Prior to the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake the wharf was 585-metres long but was severely damaged by the quake. Temporary repairs restored 125 metres of operational width for the two gantry cranes to work along.

Following ground resilience work earlier this year, the reinstatement programme is underway to increase the operational width to up to 250 metres.   

The project is part of CentrePort’s regeneration programme that is delivering on our vision of a 21st century logistics supply chain asset to benefit the business, the community, and the New Zealand economy.

The project will enhance the resilience of what is a critical supply chain asset for CentrePort’s container operation and its customers including importers, exporters, and shipping lines.

Project Details

The works will involve the insertion of piles which will support new steel structures which will create a frame to support the lengthened operational area.

The piling makes two sounds. One is a regularly repeated sound, the second is a high frequency vibration sound.

Sound Management

A sound management plan in place, and monitoring will be conducted to ensure the operation is compliant with Resource Management Act requirements and Council consents.

The work will be limited to between 7:30am to 6pm Monday to Saturday.

Your patience is appreciated while these important resilience works are undertaken.

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