May 14th, 2009
A roll on-roll off cargo ferry service between New Plymouth and Nelson has just moved a step closer. The Govt is awarding $250,000 to Port Taranaki to help fund a feasibility study into a western seaboard coastal shipping operation involving the ports of Bluff, Nelson, Greymouth, New Plymouth and Onehunga.
Port Taranaki CEO, Roy Weaver, says the study has the potential to transform Taranaki into an important transport hub for coastal shipping. “This could put Taranaki at the cross-hairs of NZ’s transport network it could bring about all sorts of distribution and warehousing opportunities.”
The port company has already engaged a Wellington economist as head consultant for the project who has hired experts in NZ’s shipping and rail industries for their assistance. Between them they now have 34 weeks to complete the feasibility study and report back to NZ Land Transport Authority. The port company has been promoting coastal shipping for a number of years.
Weaver says the feasibility study will even go so far as to recommend ship types for a coastal service. “It will study whether or not such ships need to be lift on-lift off, or roll on-roll off, or a combination of both.” If introduced it has the potential to cut hours off the time taken to travel between the mid and upper North island and some regions of the South Island.
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