After bowing to public pressure, a turnabout move by Ports of Auckland’s (POAL) owner, Auckland Council, has forced the company to stop work on an already consented wharf extension.
Described as a ‘compromise’ by POAL CEO Tony Gibson, the decision allows the port to continue building one extension while the other goes on hold awaiting further study. The extensions were designed to create more berth space for bigger ships, particularly cruise ships, which made 88 calls to Auckland last year.
POAL advised on 4 May that as a result of the change in its development plans, it will no longer be able to accommodate Ovation of the Seas, which was scheduled to make its maiden call to Auckland next year.
The vessel would have been the largest cruise liner to visit New Zealand at 348 m long, accommodating 4,900 passengers and 1,300 crew. Cruise New Zealand estimates the decision will cost Auckland alone NZD12.4 million (USD9.35 million) and the New Zealand tourism industry millions of dollars.