July 1, 2021

KiwiRail and Korean shipyard Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) have now signed a binding contract for the delivery of two new, state-of-the-art, Cook Strait ferries.

The first will arrive in 2025 and the second in 2026.

The contract price for the two ferries is USD$369 million (NZ$551m).

The two, rail-enabled ferries, when running at full operating capacity, will be able to carry nearly double the number of passengers, and commercial and passenger vehicles when compared with the current fleet.

The rail freight capacity will triple. The only currently rail-enabled ferry ARATERE can carry a maximum of 27, sixty-foot equivalent wagons per sailing. The two new rail-enabled ships will be able to carry 40, sixty-foot equivalent wagons per vessel on up to three return sailings each per day. That is a 300 per cent increase in capacity at peak.

Design: OSK Shiptech.

Contract signing: Stephen O’Keefe, iReX Programme Director; Paul Harper, Chairman of Project Governance Board; iReX, Greg Miller, KiwiRail Group Chief Executive;  KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer, David Gordon, Capital Projects and Asset Development; Walter Rushbrook, Executive General Manager, Interislander;  Massimo Soprano, iReX Ships Programme Manager. On Screen: Mr. Sam Ka, President & CEO of Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) and members of the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard team.