New Zealand’s Port Ortago is to undergo a two-year construction project that will see the deepening of channel’s and berths, as well as the expansion of warehousing facilities at a total cost of around US$30 million so that the port can effectively handle the next generation of mega-ships, according to Radio New Zealand News.
In a previous article by PTI, it was reported that one of New Zealand’s other main ports, the Port of Tauranga, has announced plans to spend $150 million over the next three years on order to facilitate mega box-ships.
Geoff Plunket, CEO of Port Otago, said: “We're the deepest container port at present and by deepening, that maintains our position. We need to position the port for these trends ahead of the time when the facilities are required.”
On a global scale, the Port of Southampton in the UK is now mega-ship ready after a $63 million dredging project was carried out, allowing ships with a draught of up 15.5 metres to efficiently berth at the port.
The evolution in mega-ships sizes is putting much pressure on ports and terminals globally, with the scale of size increases soaring by around 1200% since 1968.
It was previously reported that ports in the US have since scrambled to upgrade their infrastructure, some spending billions on upgrades, to better handle the surge in container volumes, especially upon completion of the Panama Canal in 2016.
While the top five ports handled an estimated 132 million TEU in 2014, there are still concerns as to whether many ports will have the appropriate yard space and the required funding for new crane technologies to service the new era of containerships.
This has sparked some discussion on collaboration, with industry experts suggesting that more effective carrier-terminal teamwork and vessel stowage planning are the main solutions in the long-term for dealing with these challenges.