New Zealand’s Port of Tauranga has received final approval from the Minister of Conservation for its plan to widen and deepen its shipping channel in order to accommodate larger ships.
The project will deepen the waterway from 12.9 meters (about 42.3 feet) to 52.5 feet deep at low water. Ships of up to 1,138.5 feet in length with a 47.6 foot draught will be able to navigate the Tauranga harbor.
The dredging project will be carried out in several stages, with the first commencing towards the end of 2013 and taking six months to a year to complete. The first stage of dredging, which will cost about NZ$40 to NZ$50 million (about US$33.0 to US$41.3 million), will give access to ships with a capacity of 5,000 to 6,000 20-foot-equivalent units. The biggest ships currently using the port can carry around 4,500 TEUs. The second stage will accommodate 8,200-TEU ships.
The dredging work is part of a $170 million capital expenditure program to expand capacity and improve productivity at the port.