LPC Channel Deepening Project on the Table

Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) has just announced that the company is seeking public feedback on the proposed channel deepening project in Lyttelton Harbor/Te Whakaraupō.

“Internationally, container ships have been getting bigger for many years. To accommodate these larger ships we are proposing to dredge the channel to increase its depth by 5-6 meters and deepen the container berths at the port,” said LPC Chief Executive, Peter Davie.

“The dredging proposal is future proofing our port. We need to have the right facilities and capacity to continue to attract major international shipping lines. This gives the region’s exporters and importers access to competitive freight networks and cost effective access to markets and goods. It will also protect and grow jobs, particularly those that are export related.”

Davie also said that the additional depth will support Lyttelton as the South Island’s major international trade gateway and develop a thriving Port for the future, providing local, national and international customers with confidence to invest and do business in Canterbury.

Dredging of the channel is not new and has occurred regularly since the first dredge came to Lyttelton Port in 1880. The harbor has a natural depth of 5 to 12 meters, but with successive dredging a shipping channel with a consistent depth of 12.5m has been formed. To allow the bigger ships to call at Lyttelton we need to create a depth of approximately 17-18 meters and widen the channel by 20 meters.

This greater depth also means the existing channel will be lengthened by approximately 6.5 kilometers. The proposed disposal site for the sediment (spoil) from the dredging is 2.5 kilometers by 5 kilometers and is located approximately 5 kilometers off shore from Godley Head,” added Davie.

We are seeking input to ensure that all issues and concerns are considered and that the community is comfortable with the extensive environmental monitoring and protection plan we are proposing. We are also committed to protecting the health and mahinga kai values of whakaraupō and koukourārata throughout the project.

Before any work can begin on the channel deepening project LPC must gain resource consent under the Resource Management Act to carry out the dredging and disposal.

As part of preparing for the resource consent LPC has invested more than $3 million, working with a range of expert scientists, to undertake investigations into any effects the proposed dredging could have.

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