As the Ports of Auckland seeks public feedback on its controversial container port expansion plans, an alternative proposal has emerged for a site on the other side of Auckland.
The promoters of a container port on the Manukau Harbour in the South Auckland area of Wiri claim several potential advantages to the Ports of Auckland (POAL) reclamation in the Waitemata Harbour. These include less pressure on Auckland’s transport infrastructure, significant sea-transport savings of around $150,000 a voyage and estimated savings on container movement costs of $70 a TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units – the standard container size).
The promoters of the alternative port – ports and shipping consultant Mark Oxley, former P&O NZ chief executive Mick Payze and former Maritime New Zealand chief executive Russell Kilvington – have conducted preliminary investigations over the past couple of years but are seeking a backer to fund the estimated $250,000 to take the proposal to the next step of a full feasibility and economic study.
Waterfronts historically have been industrial and commercial areas. But as CBDs have become places where people live and play, they are far better suited for hospitality, retail and open park areas.
So I’m all for moving ports away from CBDs to industrial areas like Manukau Harbour. Of course this should only happen if it can make economic sense. But ports need to grow, as the economy grows, and they won’t be able to do so in locations where they are competing with the public.