KiwiRail officially cancelled the contract for new RoPax Rail Ferries

By | 2024 Newsletter week 07 | No Comments

Hyundai Mipo Dockyard has officially announced in a statement [in Korean] on 13 February 2024, that the contract to build two RoPax train ferries was cancelled at KiwiRail’s request.

The shipbuilder says it will see a claim for design costs as part of its negotiations.

This cancellation follows the Government’s decision last year not to provide further funding for the Inter-Island Resilient Connection (iReX) project.

KiwiRail now also confirmed [in a press statement] it has now started discussions with Hyundai Mipo for the termination.

KiwiRail says it will be working with international shipbrokers on options to source suitable replacement ferries.

Rederi AB Gotland buys Belgian and bareboat charters to KiwiRail

By | 2021 newsletter week 48 | No Comments

On November 24, 2021, Rederi AB Gotland said it has acquired the Kawasaki-class roro vessel VALENTINE from Cobelfret Ferries.

The vessel has been chartered out on a bare-boat basis to KiwiRail for traffic in the Cooks Sound between the North Island and the South Island of New Zealand.

VALENTINE is now on her way to New Zealand and is expected to arrive there during the second half of December.

KiwiRail: replacement ferry to boost Interislander service

By | 2021 Newsletter week 45 | No Comments

KiwiRail has chartered the CLdN Kawasaki-type roro VALENTINE for an initial 12 months.

It is due to arrive in mid-December.

Ropax KAIARAHI (ex STENA ALEGRA) requires major repairs to its gearbox after its sudden failure, and those repairs are expected to take at least until March.

The remaining two Interislander ferries, ARATERE and KAITAKI cannot serve the market alone. The freight-only ferry will free up space for passengers and their vehicles on the other ferries, ensuring New Zealanders can travel during the summer holiday season.

KiwiRail: outstanding website explains the new ship and port projects

By | 2021 Newsletter week 45 | No Comments

KiwiRail has ordered two brand-new, bigger, hybrid ferries.

(see Ferry Shipping News 1 July 2021)

An outstanding public website explains all details and answers a lot of questions.

Kiwirail also started a consultation for the upgrading of the Wellington / Kaiwharawhara Interislander ferry terminal.

Interislander Signs Up for a New Era of Cook Strait Ferries

By | 2021 Newsletter week 26 | No Comments

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.


By | 2020 Newsletter week 22 | No Comments

New Zealand State-owned KiwiRail is taking the next step to procure a new generation of Cook Strait ferries.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) to find a preferred shipyard to build two new ships for the Interislander is being issued today, the next step in the procurement process.

The NZD 400 million contribution in Budget 2020 has enabled KiwiRail to go out to international tender to build the new ships, which are intended to arrive for service in 2024 and 2025. When the ferries are delivered, it will be over 25 years since New Zealand last introduced a brand-new purpose-built ferry to its fleet.

KiwiRail’s iReX Project was established to replace the existing three ship fleet with two new, large, rail-capable ships to be brought into service during 2024 and 2025.

KiwiRail has engaged OSK ShipTech to design the ferries.

The two ferries will be able to carry twice as many passengers as the current three ship fleet, 300% more rail wagons and almost double the number of trucks and other vehicles.

The new ships will be much more fuel efficient and produce significantly lower CO2 emissions. They will be able to run on battery power at times. KiwiRail is also future proofing the design so new fuel sources can be adopted as they become available.

The RFP process to identify the successful shipyard is expected to be completed before the end of the year.


By | 2020 Newsletter week 6 | No Comments

Interislander to Replace Ferries with Rail-Ready Fleet

Kiwirail has confirmed plans to replace its Interislander fleet with two new larger, rail-enabled ferries.

The new ships will carry more freight, cars and passengers than the current three fleets: KAITAKI, KAIARAHI and ARATERE. At this stage, Interislander will still make up to six sailings a day.


By | 2019 Newsletter week 37 | No Comments

OSK-Shiptech To Design Two New Ferries For Kiwirail, New Zealand

Danish naval architects OSK-ShipTech A/S have signed a newbuilding contract with state-owned KiwiRail for the design and development of the next generation rail-enabled ferries for the busy Cook Strait route between New Zealand’s North and South Islands.

The new ferries will strengthen and enhance the vital transport link between capitol Wellington on the North Island and Picton on the South Island. Currently, operating company Interislander is operating a fleet of three ferries – two ro-pax ferries and one train ferry.

“As part of the project, new terminals tailored to the vessels will also be developed in order to optimise the infrastructure and fully benefit of the new designs. We are of course very excited to be part of this holistic project and the continued development for KiwiRail in the region,” says Anders Ørgård, Chief Commercial Officer of OSK-ShipTech.

The new train ferries are targeted for delivery in 2024.