Five ports in New Zealand have signed a ten-year contract with Baggerbedrijf de Boer-Dutch Dredging of Sliedrecht the Nether-lands. The contract was signed in early November 2016 and will provide maintenance work for the New Zealand port authorities of Napier Taranaki Timaru Lyttelton and Tauranga. The cooperation among these competing ports for maintenance dredging is a sound decision with economic advantages for all of them as there is not enough maintenance dredging for each port individually to have a dredge on a full-time basis. This joint contract helps to spread the costs and allows a dredge to be permanently stationed in New Zealand for the length of the contract. Dutch Dredging will deploy its trailing suction hopper dredge Albatros for the task.
A joint contract is not a new phenomenon in New Zealand. For 30 years the Ports of Taranaki Timaru and Tauranga have had a combined dredging contract with New Zealand Dredging and General Works a subsidiary of the Dutch dredging company Van Oord sharing the services of the suction dredge Pelican.
The Pelican built in 1979 is approaching the end of its lifespan and its contract comes to an end in October 2017. This made it necessary for the New Zealand ports to start looking for a substitute.
For the new contract the ports of Napier and Lyttelton decided to join the other three major ports to issue a tender for maintenance dredging. The Dutch Dredging contract will begin in September 2017 and ensure that the trailer will be present in New Zealand for the next ten years.
Maintenance dredging in New Zealand is done on a rotational basis. For instance maintenance dredging takes place at Port Taranaki every two years and is due again in February 2017. For that work the Port of Taranaki will use the Pelican with the Albatros only being used the next time round in the first quarter of 2019. In addition to maintenance dredging several of these ports are also developing dredging plans to deepen and lengthen their access channels in order to remain competitive and be able to accommodate today’s super-sized container vessels.
Dutch Dredging is a medium-sized family business that focuses on long-term relation-ships with customers and this contract is clearly in line with this philosophy. It presently has 150 employees and 30 vessels.