3000 jobs to be created by upgrade
Constructing a twin berth facility in Gisborne's harbour has been described as the port's biggest infrastructure development in a century and the largest job creator for the region “by a significant margin”.
Eastland Port chief operating officer Andrew Gaddum yesterday updated Gisborne district councillors who were sitting as the operations committee.
Mr Gaddum said the development, which is scheduled to be completed by 2024, would by 2028 —
■ Boost gross regional profit by $250 million
■ Raise net household income by $65 million
■ Create 3000 additional jobs in the district (with 5500 jobs currently linked to port activity).
The 3000 new jobs was “the most staggering number,” he said.
It would be the biggest single job creation project “in our region by a country mile”.
In the short term alone there would be an initial 107 jobs for locals during construction while 60 percent of construction costs ($84m) would be spent locally.
Mr Gaddum said the port had reached capacity and its core infrastructure required upgrading.
The twin berth facility would provide for two ships between 185 and 200 metres in length, including logging ships and, “most importantly”, coastal container vessels.
The 3000 new jobs would come from an increase in wood products exports and the horticultural sector, enabled through coastal containerisation.
It was important to get container vessels in Gisborne for exporters and importers, he said.
Carbon miles would be a crucial factor for exporters and coastal shipping was a low carbon emitter.
Containers would be stored off the port, possibly around Dunstan Road.
The port currently averaged about 500 loaded trucks a day and this would grow to around 800, depending on the season.
Mr Gaddum said he believed Gisborne would not have a rail line in the near future but coastal shipping would more than compensate.
Councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown said she believed rail could be beneficial to the district.
Mr Gaddum replied that “the port redevelopment would complement rail if it comes but Gisborne would not be left without an option if it did not”.
Contractors were due to start stage 1 — the slipway reconfiguration and the rebuild of Wharf 7 — probably in June or July. It would take about 18 months.
Mr Gaddum said the new Wharf 7 would be capable of withstanding a one-in 2500-year earthquake event. The slipway, built around in 1925, would be “tidied up”.
The slipway would become a grassed area and the rock wall around it would be excellent for housing crayfish, he said. But what it looked like in the longer term was being worked through with iwi.
Stage 2 consisted of reclaiming 1.5 hectares of land, the rebuild of the other breakwater and dredging and deepening of the channels and turning basin.
Stage 2 consent applications would be lodged with the council about three-quarters of the way through this year.
Mr Gaddum said Wharf 7 would be unavailable during stage 1, with all ships using Wharf 8.
Room would be tight, with squash ships, kiwifruit ships and log ships all coming to Gisborne in the January-March period.
The level of disruption would only exist for one squash-kiwifruit season.
“It's going to be busy, with lots of ships in the bay, and we are working closely with customers on the logistics.”
Mr Gaddum said sea access was an issue raised by the public and Eastland Port was aiming to look at options to get people out on the breakwater after the twin berth project was completed.
Recreational opportunities, in addition to fishing, would be available.
The integrity of Te Toka-a-Taiau, the sacred rock — where James Cook met a Rongowhakaata man in 1769, but was blown up for port development in 1877 — would be respected and preserved.
No capital dredging would take place in that area.
There would be a “huge raft” of regular reporting and monitoring of crayfish stock levels, stormwater and other environmental factors to ensure any effects were appropriately and responsibly managed.
The port would have some of the most intensive monitoring of any port in the country.
Stakeholders and the community would be kept updated throughout the development. Consultation was a key part of the stage 2 consent process.
Mr Gaddum said that on completion the port would be more than a place for logging ships.
It was an area which meant many things to many people — such as a location for fishing, “bombing”, and visiting Titirangi, Puhi Kai Iti or Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club, he said,
Eastland Port wanted to get right the balance of historical, cultural and environmental factors.