There'd been talk about shifting the service to Clifford Bay, 35km south of Blenheim. This would've reduced the road-ferry journey between Wgtn and Chch by almost 1½hrs and the rail trip by nearly 2hrs.
Gerry "Who Ate All The Pies?" Brownlee says the new report shows an upgrade of the Picton terminal would be significantly more cost-effective: "(The) report... clearly shows Clifford Bay is not commercially viable...and the level of investment required at Picton over the next decade to extend its life would be substantially less than previously estimated.'' The Clifford Bay terminal was estimated at $530 million.
The study showed Picton's facilities were not expected to become constrained over the next 30yrs. Further, the level of investment required at Picton by its owner Port Marlborough over the next decade, to extend its life and adapt its facilities, was much lower than previously thought.
This announcement must be a huge relief for the Picton/Marlborough communities (for whom the move would have spelt financial disaster). Quite frankly, it's a big *phew* for the rest of NZ too. When you remember that the epicentre of the 6.5 Seddon earthquake (July 2013) was right off Clifford Bay, and that the area immediately inland from the bay is low and flat (ideal for tsunami-flooding), it would have been ludicrous to have proceeded with the suggestion.
Wonder how much it cost, to investigate this irresponsible idea...?