Cook Ferry $40m Re-fit


The Cook Strait ferry Aratere is to have a $40m re- fit.
Strait Shipping’s former freight and Bluebridge passenger ferry the Monte Stello has been leased for five months from the end of March, and will fill the gap while Aratere is away.

As part of the re-fit, Aratere will be cut in half at the Sembawang shipyards in Singapore.
A new 30-metre long mid-body and a new bow installed. This will increase passenger capacity by about 300, vehicle capacity by 30 per cent, rail capacity by 27 per cent, and improve performance in rough weather. It is expected to cost approximately $40 million.

Aratere would stop operations on April 10, leaving New Zealand on April 13, and it is expected to return into service in the second week of September, in time for the Rugby World Cup and the seasonal increase in rail freight.
The re-fit is part of KiwiRail’s Turnaround Plan, improving services to the company’s customers and will boost Interislander’s ability to carry rail freight as well as passengers and commercial vehicles.




  1. greenwelly says:

    Aratere was originally scheduled to leave for Singapore on March 14, but this was delayed to help with capacity in the wake of the Earthquake

  2. anthony says:

    I liked the Aratere but thought it didn’t provide much, And i could suggest a proper playground like on the Kaitaki so adults can rest in peace without children running amock on the Aratere’s only deck. And maybe timezone.

    Also, what is the current capacity of the Aratere and the other ships?

  3. Feijoa says:

    That’s impressive that they can cut the ship in half to extend, replace bow and do a refit in that timeframe. There must be a few weeks just sailing it to Singapore and back along with acceptance testing and other checks once it is back.

  4. Matt L says:

    Feijoa - I believe the new section has already been built and is just awating installation which probably helps timeframes a bit.

  5. Paul in Sydney says:

    @Matt L – That’s my understanding too

    There’s a photo in KiwiRail Express Newsletter Issue83 Page 3

    Download from here:

  6. mark says:

    Why can’t they just replace it with a motorway? I am opposed to this constant subsidising of KiwiRail’s deficit business.


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