MV Happy Dragon berths in Timaru carrying final pieces of Holcim dome
The final pieces of Timaru's massive concrete dome arrived at the town's port aboard the MV Happy Dragon on Sunday morning.
Holcim's 33 metre high dome at the Timaru port is used for storing imported concrete.
One of the cement ship unloaders along with a ship unloader, which have a combined weight of 240 tonnes, arrived in Timaru Sunday and will be used by Holcim at its new dome.
PrimePort's representative on the Holcim project, Jeremy Boys, said the ship reached the pilot's station right on schedule at about 8am, before a "very routine" berthing took place.
For a heavy lift ship, the size of the MV Happy Dragon was "reasonably standard", but its cargo was not.
"I think it's more the cargo itself that's unusual," Boys said.
On Friday, Holcim said it expected the Happy Dragon remain in port for two days, unloading equipment for the Timaru terminal, before moving to Auckland to unload the Auckland cement unloader over two days.
Boys on Sunday said it was hoped the process would be much quicker, with the ship likely ready to set sail by Sunday evening.
"They are actually hoping before the day is over they have it unloaded," Boys said,
"We're all envisaging it's going to be pretty straight forward. This company, they focus on heavy lift."
The port's role had been to make sure the number two wharf rebuild was ready for the ship and its cargo.
"Part of the whole Holcim project is that PrimePort have built a new number two wharf. That's substantially done, and that's to handle this heavy lift load," Boys said.
In a statement, Holcim said the unloading equipment being installed at Timaru's port would be ready for the first shipment of cement from Japan in December.
The Timaru cement terminal was expected to be fully operational January 2016.
Holcim's capital projects manager, Ken Cowie, said the unloaders being shipped to Timaru were the last pieces of major equipment for the terminal.
The MV Happy Dragon was loaded up in Rotterdam, before setting sail for Timaru via the Panama Canal.
A logistics company brought the unloaders together about 20 kilometres east of Rotterdam, where they were placed on a pontoon by a floating crane and floated down to be loaded onto a ship.
The Port of Rotterdam described the loading as "quite a logistics challenge".
Holcim has invested $100 million in new cement storage terminals and distribution facilities in Timaru and Auckland.