Maersk evaluates Timaru port for future giant ship
3 June 2019 - Media Release - Fresh Plaza
The world's largest shipping and logistics company looks set to drop its anchors in Timaru following a visit from the largest ship ever to berth at the port. The town's port would definitely see more ships like the massive Rio de Janeiro, which berthed here on May 26, if that trial run proves successful.
Maersk Oceania area product manager Greg Paradine said it had recently customised its services to accommodate New Zealand ports such as Tauranga, Napier, Lyttelton and Port Chalmers. Timaru could be next on that list after the Rio de Janeiro's stop over late last month, he said.
Paradine confirmed that last year's $2.5 million project to widen the Timaru port's inner breakwater entrance from 90m to 140m to allow for easier access for bigger vessels had played a significant role in getting the Rio de Janeiro in port.
"Recent investments at PrimePort Timaru has enabled us to perform the one-off test call and we are now in the process of fully evaluating the results of this test and any potential future network adjustments," he said.
The breakwater project, which removed a rock wall and dug out the approach at the entrance of the harbour, ended early in 2019.
Paradine said to improve Maersk's efficiency in New Zealand their larger ships were now docking at smaller harbours.
"Maersk upgraded our weekly Southern Star service in early 2019 with the introduction of five 'Rio Class' vessels calling at Tauranga, Napier, Lyttelton and Port Chalmers. As part of our continuous focus to drive network efficiencies across all the ports we serve in New Zealand, we are exploring if the 'Rio Class' vessels are able to call at other ports."
PrimePort chief executive Phil Melhopt said the Rio's berthing in Timaru was a significant first step in an approval process for the bigger ships.