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3000 jobs to be created by upgrade

Stage 1 of port development to start June-July.

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.

Container vessels key to port's future

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.

PORT PLANS: Stage 1 of the redevelopment of Gisborne's port), consists of work on the slipway (No.1 in image) and Wharf 7 (No.2) to start later this year. Stage 2 includes land reclamation (No.4) rebuilding the other breakwater (No.5) and dredging and deepening of the channels (No.6 and No.7) and the turning basin (No.8.) Image supplied

  1. Dean Williams says:

    This is a great development for the region. I just hope that it will be coupled with additional residential development to cater for these 3000 additional jobs.

    1. D. Arthur says:

      Given we cannot house people already, and that the situation is not improving, I can’t see how housing can be achieved for this number of extra employees. How many are expected will already live here?
      It is also ironic that this is being done to service the growing need for transport of crops etc – it was only a year or so ago the same people were saying the Berl report and the revenue forecasts were grossly over-optimistic as to future requirements for transport.

  2. Dein Ferris says:

    I would question and inquire as to how Andrew Gaddum arrives at the creation of 3000 jobs simply by building another berth. Let’s see where these positions are Mr Gaddum.
    One would imagine construction companies used are already in existence, so maybe a few casuals picked up and temporarily employed for the duration of the job. Stevedoring, maybe an increase of 40, half of whom will be casual and will only work when there are two ships in port. Forestry, it is highly unlikely that this industry would double its workforce in trucking and the bush gangs simply because of another berth. Horticulture already exports produce by various means, containerisation included, so I cannot see much of an increase there.
    The big one: Containerisation. As far as I am aware there is only one coastal container vessel currently plying the NZ coast. It is operated by Pacifia Shipping, which at one point used to have three ships on the coast. This has reduced to one because the government of the day allowed overseas container vessels which come to NZ to carry containers from ports designated by them to other ports designated by them also. The containers they carry are trucked or railed to these designated ports. Even with two berths, these container ships would not be able to berth here.
    I have spent 50-odd years in the waterfront industry and know this port very well. Because of its positioning, it is always going to be subject to weather conditions. All the old hands will tell you that the deeper you dredge, the more surge you’ll get. FYI I was still working until Covid struck last year.
    Come on Mr Gaddum, produce the proof.

    Footnote response from Eastland Group chief operating officer Andrew Gaddum:
    Thanks for your enquiry, Dein. As you know, Eastland Port is an important part of the Tairawhiti economy. Several in-depth impact assessments have been done over the past few years to quantify the port’s immediate and wider contributions to the region’s economic and employment activity.
    In 2019, a report by Economic Solutions Ltd identified that the activities of Eastland Port, other port-based businesses, cruise ship visitor spending and exporters of commodities through the port delivered direct plus indirect (ie “multiplier effect”) total employment impacts of 5,630 people. In other words, 26 percent of jobs in Tairawhiti are currently linked positively to the port in some way.
    More recently we commissioned a second economic impact assessment specifically covering the Twin Berth development. This was carried out by Brown, Copeland and Co.
    Calculating the indirect jobs and benefits of a major initiative like this is always a challenge, but what’s clear is that there will be significant new jobs and regional benefits from the project.
    Initial analysis shows that the development will directly generate around 107 new local jobs during the construction phase. The long-term picture is that, by 2028, opening up export and import capacity and opportunities will see the port support the creation of another 3000 jobs across Tairawhiti. These will come from additional forestry harvests, growth in wood products exports and the horticultural sector in particular, and the associated economic activity.
    Coastal containerisation is key to this, and vital to the growth of Tairawhiti. A fundamental reason coastal vessels don’t call in at Eastland Port is the lack of supporting infrastructure, which the Twin Berth development intends to rectify. The Government has a renewed focus on coastal shipping to help reduce our country’s carbon emissions.