What to do about Auckland’s Port has been the discussion of much debate over the last year. The port is obviously a fairly major part of the city and of Auckland’s history but at the same time many people don’t want to see the port continue to expand un-relentlessly further out into the Waitemata Harbour.
Last year after the consents for another round of reclamation were overturned, the council started forward the Port Future Study
To ensure Auckland’s wider community is involved in decisions about our port’s future development, an independent and collaborative study has been commissioned to look at long term options for meeting Auckland’s port needs.
The Port Future Study is made up of business, industry and community groups, marine recreation and heritage associations, environmental organisations, special interest groups and mana whenua.
Back in February the study released a long list of potential future port sites including some that raised a few eyebrows.
Now they have narrowed that down to a shortlist
Study group releases shortlist of potential port options
The Port Future Study’s Consensus Working Group today released a shortlist of options being considered to accommodate Auckland’s long term (50 years+) future freight trade and cruise ship activities.
The Independent Chair of the study’s Consensus Working Group (CWG) and Reference Group, Dr Rick Boven, says the study’s consultants, a consortium led by EY, have projected Auckland’s long-term future freight and cruise needs and assessed what could be required in 50 years to accommodate it.
“Auckland is on a steep growth trajectory. With an expected population of at least 2.6 million and potentially quadrupling of freight trade in the next 50 years, Auckland will need a strategy to ensure freight can flow for continued trade and prosperity”, says Dr Boven.
“The study’s consultants have identified three options that could meet Auckland’s future long-term freight and cruise needs, subject to further assessment.
“All of the shortlist options have complex challenges and implications. Each option continues to be assessed and is now progressing to a detailed cost benefit analysis. There is still analytic work to be done”, says Dr Boven.
The shortlisted options, representing the next step in the consultant’s ongoing technical analysis, are:
- Option one: constraining Auckland’s port to its current footprint
- Option two: enabling growth of Auckland’s port at its current location
- Option three: continue with the current site in the short-to-mid-term but in the mid-to-long term move the port to a new location. There are three primary location areas for further investigation emerging:
- Manukau Harbour area
- Firth of Thames area (within the Auckland region)
- Muriwai area
“Our important next steps are to get feedback from the Study’s larger Reference Group, complete the cost benefit analysis of remaining options and test the assumptions of that analysis by peer review.
“Once we complete further analysis on the shortlist of options we will have a clearer picture of how each option stacks up on costs and wider economic effects. Some options are likely to be cost prohibitive”, says Dr Boven .
The purpose of the Port Future Study is to provide recommendations to Auckland Council on a strategy to accommodate Auckland’s long term future trade and cruise activities across the next 50 or more years. The CWG is not a decision making body.
The CWG will consider the consultants’ findings as they continue to formulate their recommendations for a long term strategy to accommodate future freight and cruise demand.
The port themselves will obviously be fighting as hard as possible to stay just where they are with additional reclamation and on twitter were quick to slam the Muriawi suggestion – something I imagine is only on the list as it’s relatively close to Auckland with fairly deep water and one I can’t see standing up to a detailed assessment.
— Ports of Auckland (@AucklandsPort) April 8, 2016
At quick glance all sites seem to have a number of positives and negatives associated with them and so it will be interesting to see just what comes out next. The transport aspect will be interesting to see and in particular how or even if that impacts on projects like ATAP which is due out just a month after this this study is due to be completed (July).