First look - Quake-damaged Wellington port riddled with cracks and liquefaction

Emily Cooper
Source: 1News

1 NEWS has been given an exclusive first look at Wellington's quake-damaged port.

The main container wharf has suffered the most damaged, littered with liquefaction and cracks. Some parts have collapsed into the sea.

Chief executive Derek Nind says it's disappointing considering all the work that has been done to grow the port and its business in recent years, but won't go as far as to admit it's a setback.

"It's a challenge," he says.

The port is still in an assessment phase, made harder by the constant threat of aftershocks and the high winds and flooding Wellington has experienced this week.

"Everything takes time and I know we've been criticised for being slow to get information out," Mr Nind said.

"I think what we're trying to do here is to get the facts, to understand what's going on."

Earlier in the week United Future leader Peter Dunne criticised CentrePort for the lack of information around how damaged the port is.

Mr Nind estimates around half of the port is clear, but the rest is uncertain.

Some areas are no-go zones, including the cruise ship area.

The cruise ship the Pacific Aria will dock in Wellington tomorrow morning, using an alternative wharf at the port.

Passengers will be loaded straight onto waiting buses.

He says the port is still operational, where it can be.

"We understand how important we are to central New Zealand, we're working hard to get it back up and running."

The port's 250 staff members have been told their jobs are safe, and are being paid in full.

Around 70 staff members have been working to assess the damage and to get what they can back up and running.

CentrePort is usually open 365 days a year and contributes $2.5 billion GDP, but there's not yet any idea how much the quake damage and loss of business will cost.

"We are well-insured and we are working with our insurers," Mr Nind says.

The ferry link between Wellington and Picton was going again 24 hours after the quake and the first commercial vessel was unloaded two days after.

The rail lines are also now re-opened and have started moving cargo and logs.

More commercial ships are due next week.

CentrePort say these are small steps, but it’s not a job that can be rushed.