Two historic pillars of the Hawkes Bay economy are evaluating a joint approach in developing Napier as a focus for ship repair in the South Seas. They are the Port of Napier itself and Napier Engineering and Contracting whose 150 year history has been closely linked to the progress of the port.
Napier Engineering is the east coast’s major heavy engineer and in association with the port undertakes vessel repairs while the ships are wharfside. The company specialises in rapid deployment repairs begun and completed while vessels are loading/discharging. Last month such repairs were carried out on the French-owned container vessel Lavender. In recent months the company overhauled the safety systems of the United States Scripps Institution research vessel Roger Revell (pictured).
The joint evaluation in promoting the port for repairs follows a study by Napier Engineering’s management indicating that European trade re-alignments in the medium and long term will be to the benefit of the Hawkes Bay region (see current article.) Another factor considered in this was the pending US-led Trans Pacific Partnership trade treaty.
Such a repositioned alignment pivoting on New Zealand offers greater opportunities for South Pacific ship repairers simply because Asian routes are already well-supplied with transit repair dock workshops.
Portside repairs on cargo vessels during voyages are required when heavy seas have damaged ships- own- gear and other superstructures. Also when vessels have sustained grab or crane loading damage to cargo hatches and coamings.
According to Napier Engineering management the immediate scheme was to alert vessel owners, charterers, and shipping agents of the port’s advantages in rapid-turnaround repairs on voyage.
Liner service operators and management would benefit by being informed of the rapid turnaround voyage repairs that could be performed at Napier with no interruption to their schedule.
Tramp vessel management operating vessels on an on-demand non-scheduled basis would similarly profit through using Port of Napier in that rapid repairs were available there as an addition to the numerous other benefits of using the port.
Napier Engineering said it would now re-position its ship repair business to what it described as a “priority” divisional activity.
During the heyday of Commonwealth Preference trade between New Zealand and Britain, Napier Engineering specialised in servicing the conference lines of that era by deploying its mechanical specialists at the Napier port of call. They would remain on the vessel until the contract was completed and then disembarked at the next port of call – wherever it was.
The company is the leading New Zealand precision production engineer in food processing equipment, notably of the Niven Series. Port of Napier which is municipally-owned within Hawkes Bay traces its history back to 1855.