New fer­ries a step closer

New Zealand Truck & Driver - - Front Page -

THE CONSTRUCTI­ON OF A NEW GEN­ER­A­TION of Cook Strait fer­ries is a step nearer, with Ki­wiRail be­gin­ning the process of set­tling on a ship­yard to build two new ships.

Ki­wiRail says that the $400mil­lion ear­marked for new fer­ries in the Gov­ern­ment’s Bud­get 2020 – part of its $1.2bn rail spendup (and on top of last year’s $1bn) – has al­lowed it to go out to in­ter­na­tional ten­der to have the ships built.

Ki­wiRail’s iReX Project will see the re­place­ment of the ex­ist­ing three­ferry fleet with two new, much larger ships – sched­uled to go into ser­vice in 2024 and 2025.

The new fer­ries will be tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced, have sig­nif­i­cantly lower CO2 emis­sions, a greater car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity and will pro­vide “an en­hanced vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence,” Ki­wiRail group chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Miller says.

They will each be 40 me­tres longer and five me­tres wider – and to­gether the pair will be able to carry “al­most dou­ble the num­ber of trucks and other ve­hi­cles,” 300% more rail wag­ons and twice as many pas­sen­gers as the cur­rent three-ship fleet.

Ki­wiRail reck­ons they are pro­jected to meet the ex­pected freight and pas­sen­ger growth over the next 30 years.

The high-tech ships will have the lat­est propul­sion sys­tems and will be ca­pa­ble of run­ning on bat­tery power at times, Ki­wiRail says. They will also be fu­ture­proofed so they could switch to al­ter­na­tive fu­els.

The new fer­ries rep­re­sent “a once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion op­por­tu­nity to trans­form the Cook Strait cross­ing,” says Miller.

By the time they’re de­liv­ered, it will be more than 25 years since In­ter­is­lander had a brand-new, pur­pose­built ferry.

Cur­rently, Ki­wiRail’s three fer­ries carry 800,000 pas­sen­gers and up to $14bn worth of road and rail freight an­nu­ally.

Miller says that the new fer­ries and as­so­ci­ated port in­fras­truc­ture up­grades “will pro­vide greater re­silience for this cru­cial link that unites our coun­try and will serve NZ for the next gen­er­a­tion and be­yond.”

T&D

A con­cept im­age of one of the new fer­ries. Pic­ture OSK Shiptech

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