Update on Twin Berth Stage Two

Eastland Port has reached a significant milestone after their Twin Berth Stage Two application was granted, the culmination of a decade-long preparation and consultation.

All 26 resource consents were granted by commissioners including extending Wharf 8, reclaiming one hectare of land, capital and maintenance dredging, rebuilding the outer breakwater structure, upgrading the Southern Log Yard's stormwater treatment system, and renewing the Port Occupancy License.

The project will see two 185-200 metre long vessels berth simultaneously allowing the port to diversify and future-proof Tairāwhiti for generations to come.

Marty Bayley, Eastland Port's GM Infrastructure and Development, emphasized the extensive effort undertaken to address various considerations, from environmental and cultural concerns to traffic management and noise around the port.

“Thorough independent testing, modelling, and advice was sought from various technical experts, planners, iwi and hapū; alongside consultation with the community. The depth and breadth of our approach was an integral part of the outcome,” said Mr Bayley.

The consent decision underwent a standard appeal period during which two objections were lodged to the Environment Court at closing.

Mr Bayley said, “We’re obviously disappointed these appeals came through, especially after our extensive approach and efforts.”

In the decision report, commissioners praised Eastland Port’s co-operative approach to the consents, noting how uncommon it is for an application of that size and complexity to have this level of agreement between the applicant, reporting officers and the community.

Mr Bayley added, “Upon closing of the public hearing, Dr Brent Cowie a retiring commissioner, stated the application was the best he had seen in his career which was validating to hear.

“Despite the objections this is a massive achievement for our region and is a testament to our collective efforts and desires to see Tairāwhiti prosper.

“We wouldn’t be where we are without the overwhelming support of the local community. The Gisborne District Council received 47 submissions in support which shows the depth of commitment and unity amongst our community to see our port thrive for the betterment of all Tairāwhiti.

“There were only nine opposing or neutral submissions of which three were resolved before the hearing and the remaining six were left to the independent commissioners to decide upon at the public hearing, ultimately resulting in the granting of the consent.”

Eastland Port Chief Operating Officer Andrew Gaddum said, “While we are primarily a log port, this project presents a significant opportunity to different sectors of trade which is a really exciting aspect for us, particularly as the region looks to understand what our future land use will look like.

“Notably, we are expecting the first of nine Zespri vessels with container capability in the coming weeks. They will be taking nearly 10,000 tonnes of kiwifruit to Japan, Korea, China and Europe – the largest volume we’ve seen since 2007.

“We want to be able to deliver the Twin Berth Stage 2 project at a time our region desperately needs more resilient infrastructure, so we will be working at haste throughout this next stage of the consenting process.

“We will continue to work alongside iwi, hapū, port neighbours, businesses, and the community as their contributions have been invaluable to our decision-making and ultimately our approach.”