New Zealand state-owned enterprise KiwiRail has launched a Request for Proposal (RFP) to find a shipyard for the construction of two ships for Interislander.
Interislander is operated by KiwiRail and is a road and rail ferry service that operates between Wellington and Picton across the Cook Strait. The two new ferries will boost the capacity and resilience of the transport link. The search for the shipyard marks the next phase of the procurement process.
KiwiRail Group CEO Greg Miller said: “The new ships will strengthen and enhance the vital transport link between the North and South Islands and represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the Cook Strait crossing.”
The ferries are extensions of the Main Trunk Line and State Highway 1 across Cook Strait and connect the road and rail networks between the islands. Interislander currently operates three ferries that move approximately 800,000 passengers and road and rail freight worth approximately NZ$14bn between the North and South Islands annually.
Earlier this month, the New Zealand Government allocated NZ$1.2bn ($717m) in the Budget 2020, which will be available to KiwiRail, including NZ$400m for replacing the old Interislander ferries.