Ports of Auckland Ltd was granted consent today to deepen the Waitemata Harbour shipping channel.
The consent allows the channel to be deepened from 12.5m to between 14-14.2m. That will allow larger container ships such as the 366m-long New Panamax vessels, which have a maximum draft of 15.2m, to enter the port. The port company will use tidal windows to make best use of the natural water depth and keep dredging to a minimum.
Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson said today: “The Covid-19 lockdown highlighted the essential role Auckland’s port plays in the economy. A deeper channel will ensure Auckland’s port can continue that essential role for decades. By allowing larger ships to reach the port, it will also reduce carbon emissions & the cost of transporting Auckland’s freight.”
The consent process was unusual because Ports of Auckland asked for the application to be publicly notified even though it wasn’t required, so people could have their say on the project. The main concern among the 200-plus submissions Auckland Council received was over the disposal of dredged material.
Mr Gibson said the port company acknowledged that this was a genuine concern, and the company was committed to working with key submitters to look for ways to reduce or even eliminate the need for sea disposal.