0RUHOLIWOHVVPDLQWHQDQFH The Port of Tauranga now uses a total of 26 Kalmar straddles. Although the original straddles were designed for a 40-tonne lifting capacity, they have since been upgraded to a capacity of 50 tonnes. The Port of Tauranga is also gradually switching over to dieselelectric straddles. They started with hydro-dynamic drives â€“ engine and gearbox drives. â€œSince those early days there has been tremendous improvements in electric drives. That enabled us to build straddles with more efficient drives while being much more environmentally-friendly,â€? says Cook. McColgan, from the Port, echoes his sentiments. â€œDiesel-electric carriers provide the efficiency of twin lifting capability. That means each straddle can pick up two containers instead of just one, which obviously leads to much quicker vessel turnaround times.â€? The benefits of diesel-electric straddles donâ€™t stop there. They require less maintenance, and when they do, there are fewer moving parts, which makes economic sense. The environmental impact of diesel-electric straddles, or the lack of, is ideally suited to New Zealand, a country that prides itself on being environmentally responsible. â€œNo hydraulics results in less pollution in the sea,â€? says Cook. Diesel-electrics also release less carbon into the atmosphere and produce less noise.
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(PEUDFLQJWKHIXWXUH In The Question of Bigger Ships, published in August 2010, The New Zealand Shippersâ€™ Council (NZSC) said, â€œWhilst New Zealand will continue to receive shipping services, if New Zealandâ€™s ports are
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not bigger ships capable within five years, there is a risk services could become â€˜boutiqueâ€™ in nature, where only relatively small and old vessels (by international standards) with a higher operating cost per container can be accommodated by the ports.â€? The Port of Tauranga took up the challenge. On 5 March 2013 the port received final approval from the Minister of Conservation to widen and deepen shipping channels so the port can accommodate bigger ships. In a statement issued on 5 March, Port of Tauranga Chief Executive Mark Cairns said, â€œLarger ships, both containerised and bulk, have relatively higher fuel efficiency (and are therefore more carbon efficient) with lower operating costs per unit. This will enhance the competitiveness of New Zealand exporters and provide lower costs for importers.â€? The port will dredge the shipping channel to widen and deepen it from 12.9 metres to 16.0 metres at low tides. That will allow the harbour to accommodate ships of up to 347 metres long with a draught of 14.5 metres. Currently, the harbour can accommodate ships that carry about 4,500 TEU (twenty foot equivalent containers). The first stage of dredging will give access to ships with a capacity of 5,000 to 6,000 TEU. The second dredging project will increase that to ships with a carrying capacity of 8,200 TEU. It will also allow larger bulk cargo and cruise ships to enter the harbour.