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Port Marlborough and CentrePort have joined forces to provide an end-to-end logistics supply chain connecting Marlborough exporters directly to the world.

The ports have entered into a formal agreement which creates a new, reliable, resilient, and lower carbon freight link between exporters in Marlborough and international markets.  The initiative provides a cargo hub and freight movement via road/rail to coastal and international shipping.

An inland cargo hub will be established at the Riverlands site near Blenheim, 34km to Picton via State Highway 1.  The hub, to be developed over the next 18-24 months for cargo aggregation, links to Port Marlborough by State Highway 1 and rail. 

Port Marlborough CEO Rhys Welbourn says there will be major benefits for Marlborough exporters and importers, and the region’s community and economy.

“We have collectively been working with shippers who want a reliable, resilient, and competitive supply chain which is what this partnership will deliver. 

“It creates improved access and options for shippers for an end-to-end export service with the cargo aggregation hub at Riverlands connecting them to coastal and international shipping at competitive rates.  That will help local businesses grow, benefitting the region’s and New Zealand’s economy, “Mr Welbourn said.

CentrePort CEO Anthony Delaney says the partnership has significant environmental and resilience benefits as well.

“The proximity of the Riverlands hub to exporters and the direct link via State Highway 1 with the potential for a rail connection, will provide a lower carbon option compared to other supply chain routes.  

“CentrePort’s supply chain infrastructure already includes a range of carbon reduction initiatives including fully electric container movement vehicles on port.    Hydrogen is part of future plans.  We have invested in infrastructure resilience and capacity enhancement which can also benefit shippers in the upper South Island, “Mr Delaney said.

Mr Welbourn and Mr Delaney said the partnership had wider benefits for the New Zealand logistics supply chain. 

“It will help increase efficiency by enabling empty containers to be efficiently distributed to key exporter locations.  It also supports coastal shipping which the Government identifies as important for strengthening and diversifying the supply chain,” they said.

Marlborough District Council Mayor John Leggett has welcomed the announcement. 

“This is a fantastic new development for Marlborough that will streamline our export supply chain. Marlborough accounts for 86% of New Zealand’s wine exports and also exports large volumes of high quality food produce,” say Mr Leggett.

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) Chair Daran Ponter says the partnership is a boost for the central New Zealand economy.

“This initiative enhances resilience and certainty for exporters which is welcome in these challenging times, and will also grow cargo throughput for the ports, including CentrePort of which GWRC is majority shareholder,” Mr Ponter said.

Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens is also supportive.

“This new partnership between Port Marlborough and CentrePort will build on logistics infrastructure in place at Riverlands and will be welcomed and utilised by the regions wine producers. Alongside this, the commercial and environmental benefits from increased two-way freight services are very important to our industry,” Mr Pickens said.

The joint partnership facilitated between Port Marlborough and CentrePort will see the development of the Riverlands site.  A total of seven hectares of the 32-hectare site will be utilised for the hub with the remainder available to prospective parties.   

New CentrePort CEO

Chair Lachie Johnstone has announced the CentrePort Board has appointed acting CEO Anthony Delaney as permanent Chief Executive Officer, with immediate effect.

“We’re delighted to confirm Anthony in the role after a comprehensive recruitment process over the past four months utilising an external recruitment consultancy,” Mr Johnstone said.

Mr Delaney was made acting Chief Executive on 1 April following the departure of previous CEO Derek Nind. 

“The recruitment attracted a range of quality candidates with national and international experience, and Anthony emerged as the Board’s choice through a robust process,” Mr Johnstone said.

“In his five-and-a-half years as a General Manager at CentrePort, Anthony has been a driving force helping lead the port’s regeneration programme following the Kaikoura earthquakes.

“As General Manager Regeneration and Environment he has been integral to the development and delivery of a strategy for a resilient, sustainable business for our customers and shareholders, that will grow freight capacity. 

“Health and safety for our people and those they work with is the primary focus at CentrePort and Anthony has demonstrated full commitment to maintaining that goal.

“We welcome Anthony to the role and look forward to him continuing the work to deliver a 21st century logistics supply chain asset that benefits customers, the community and economy,” said Mr Johnstone.


Anthony Delaney joined CentrePort in November 2016 as General Manager Infrastructure and Environment.   Since 2019 he has been GM Regeneration and Environment.

His role at CentrePort has been focused on leading the regeneration of the Port delivering strategic planning, linking in with CentrePort’s spatial and investment planning.

Anthony has acted as a Project Director on major infrastructure projects in both Australia and New Zealand.

He is experienced in the planning and delivery of projects, and the asset management of large-scale infrastructure businesses.

He has a civil engineering degree, and a Bachelor of Commerce, from the University of Wollongong.

Shipping channel and berth maintenance works

CentrePort is undertaking maintenance to ensure sufficient depths for shipping at some of its wharves, and improvements to shipping channel safety on behalf of the Harbour Master (a downloadable version of this story can be found here)

The Dutch Dredging company vessel Albatros, seen in Wellington Harbour last year, returns to clear build-ups of sand in front of the Aotea Quay, and the Thorndon Container, Seaview and Burnham wharves.  

The Albatros will be working in areas immediately in front of the wharves, known as ‘berth pockets’.    The Harbour Master reminds recreational vessels to maintain a minimum 100m distance from the Albatros during operations.

Shipping movements and propeller wash create mounds of sand which needs to be removed to maintain necessary depths for safe and efficient movement of vessels.  

The wharves all play vital roles for CentrePort and importers/exporters.   Aotea Quay facilitates the movement of bulk cargoes such as logs and vehicles.  Thorndon Wharf, home to CentrePort’s two large ship-to-shore cranes allows the movement of shipping containers.  Seaview is where fuel for the lower North Island is offloaded, while all Wellington Airport’s aviation fuel goes through Burnham Wharf.

In addition, the Albatros will be doing work on behalf of the Harbour Master/Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC).     It will be removing sand mounds at Falcon Shoals - an area of water between Seatoun and Eastbourne.

The removal of material at this site will enable greater separation of the inwards and outwards shipping channels, enhancing safety.  This is acting on recommendations in a joint review by GWRC and CentrePort of navigation safety of the Wellington Harbour entrance conducted last year.

All the material removed by the Albatros will be deposited at a site off Thorndon Container Wharf.  The site has been used previously for deposits and is done safely and without disrupting the environment.

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.

With over 7,000 commercial shipping movements per annum (including inter-island ferries, container vessels, fuel tankers, bulk cargo vessels), Wellington is the busiest shipping harbour in New Zealand. 

The work covering the berth pocket clearance and shipping lane work is schedule for two weeks, beginning April 11.



Why is the berth pocket maintenance necessary?

Sand caused by propeller wash and shipping movements build up in areas in front of wharves (known as berth pockets).  A minimum depth is required to safely allow for vessels to berth, and to be loaded and unloaded. 

Why is material being removed from the Falcon Shoals?  Commercial shipping has designated inwards and outwards lanes.   A review in 2021 conducted by maritime consultancy South Maritime Solutions on behalf of GWRC and CentrePort ( ‘Review of Navigation Safety Wellington Harbour Entrance’)  recommended a greater separation of the outward western lane from the inward eastern lane.  The removal of mounds of sand which currently have to be sailed around, will allow for that greater separation.  The shipping lane adjustments will have no impact on areas used for recreational boating/ water activities.

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 material following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and last year’s channel maintenance work and meets environmental consenting requirements. 

How long will the work take?

The work is scheduled to be completed within two weeks.  The berth pocket maintenance at the four wharfs will take approximately a week and the Falcon Shoals work approximately four days.   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.


The Albatros undertaking channel maintenance work in Wellington Habour 2021




Aotea Quay and Thorndon Container Wharf areas for berth pocket maintenance (approximate depiction only – not exact coordinates)


Seaview Wharf area for berth pocket maintenance (approximate depiction only – not exact coordinates)


Burnham Wharf area for berth pocket maintenance (approximate depiction only – not exact coordinates)


Falcon Shoals area (approximate depiction only – not exact coordinates)

CentrePort Thorndon Container Wharf Reinstatement

A major milestone in CentrePort's regeneration with the Thorndon Container Wharf (TCW) Reinstatement Project extended berth now operational.

At 0700 on 10 March, the 262-metre operational length of TCW went live, with the Tianjin Bridge the first ship to benefit from the expanded operational length.

Representatives of the project team gathered at dawn for a blessing ceremony led by Kaumatua Peter Jackson representing the local Mana Whenua Taranaki Whanui.

The project has expanded the operational length of our ship-to-shore cranes from 125 metres to 262 metres.   This significantly improves productivity as the cranes can now work the entire length of the ship without having to move the vessel as previously required.

Major ground resilience works have been undertaken as well, enhancing this significant asset that benefits the central New Zealand economy.

The project is the culmination of several years of work following the Thorndon Container Wharf being badly damaged in the November 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake.   Emergency repairs completed in just 10 months restored 125 metres of berth in 2017.  Following the finalisation of insurance in late 2019, the reinstatement and resilience works commenced in 2020.

The successful completion of this major project would not have been possible without the great work of CentrePort’s people, and partners including Holmes, HEB Construction, Dixon & Dunlop, WSP and Downer.