More than 1200 cubic tonnes of sawn timber is estimated to pass through the NZ Port of Whanganui every month.
The busy port, which also transports 1300 cubic tonnes of barley and 1000 tonnes of fertiliser and other products, is undergoing significant redevelopment.
The Whanganui’s port revitalisation project, called Te Pūwaha (the outlet or river mouth), is the first community-led exercise for managing a project under the new legal status of the Whanganui River as Te Awa Tupua.
Last week, the NZ Herald reported that Concrete Structure Ltd was awarded a contract for completing stage one of the Te Puwaha port civil construction works, according to Horizons Regional Council.
Whanganui Port Operating Company chairman Declan Millin believed “the revitalisation of the port is key in the region’s plans to redevelop the town’s maritime infrastructure to encourage local vessel construction and enhance New Zealand’s coastal shipping network”.
Whanganui Port project manager Phil Wardale confirmed Concrete Structures will soon start work on the first stage of development.
This includes the construction of a heavy pavement vessel hardstand and concrete structures out over the water capable of carrying Q-West Boat Builder’s 380-tonne capacity mobile boat hoist, which, when fully laden, will weigh over 550 tonnes.
The first stage also includes the construction of a specialist water treatment plant to service the vessel maintenance of heavy pavement, along with demolition and ground preparation works.
Funding for the work is split evenly between the Provincial Growth Fund, as managed by Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit, and Whanganui District Council’s investment into the Limited Partnership, which will own the redevelopment assets.
The total investment in Te Pūwaha is over $50 million, including a $26.75m Government investment managed by Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit.
Wardale confirmed that procurement for the subsequent phases of the works will get underway later this year and into 2024.
This will focus on selecting designs and a contractor to rebuild the adjoining two port wharves and sourcing dredging equipment for the port.
Mark Peterson acknowledged the funding partners’ commitment to the completion of this project.
He said the port would continue to be mindful of any economic cost inflation pressures with ensuing project phases, and the project would investigate appropriate funding sources if needed.
“However, this first phase gets the ball rolling with the project, allowing a new business operation at the port to generate economic growth, which will benefit our community,” he said.