As Auckland grows freight demand grows, and more freight means bigger ships as shipping lines try to keep costs low. While freight demand is increasing, Aucklanders feel there should be no more port expansion and we've given a commitment to end reclamation. That's an interesting challenge: how do we handle more freight without making the port bigger?
There is also the question of moving the port. This has been addressed in a number of studies since 2012, and while no decision has been made, it is possible that the port will reach capacity in the next few decades and may need to move.
So how do we plan for the future? While the port may move, a project of that scale will take decades – probably around 30 years to consent, fund and build. In the interim Auckland is forecast to grow by a million people, and we need to be able to handle their freight needs. So the existing port needs more capacity.
We used the recommendations of the 2016 Port Future Study as the starting point for capacity improvements. We used public surveys and focus groups to help us clarify public aspirations. We talked to shipping lines for information on trends in ship design and size, plus studies into cargo trends to help quantify the scale of what was needed. All of this information and more was used to develop a 30-year Master Plan, released in November 2017 for public comment.
The Plan was well received and in May 2018, Auckland Council endorsed its general direction. We have now started to deliver it. To learn more about the plan, visit www.masterplan.poal.co.nz. This website is being updated regularly to reflect progress. You can also find information on projects currently underway or being consented here.