Interislander Ferry Replacement Project - Wellington and Picton

Under Procurement
Interislander Ferry Replacement Project - Wellington and Picton

KiwiRail will be replacing the Interislander fleet ferry service, which links road and rail networks between New Zealand's north and south islands, with two new rail-enabled ferries. It provides a connection between State Highway 1 and the Main Trunk Line across Cook Strait.

As part of the project, Wellington and Picton ferry terminals will be reconfigured to accommodate the new fleet and integrate with the local rail and road infrastructure.

The new ferries will need to be able to hold 40 rail wagons, around 3,000 lane metres for vehicles, and about 1,800 passengers each. This accounts for 300 per cent more rail wagon, almost double the number of vehicles and twice as many passengers compared to the capacity of the current three-ship fleet.

Key Dates

Aug 2019 EOIs open for ship procurement
Dec 2020 Preferred shipyard for ship procurement selected
Jul 2021 Expected contract award
Nov 2022 Expected Construction Commencement
Dec 2024 New ferries expected to be operational

Funding contributions

NZ Government

NZ$400 million was allocated by the NZ Government through equity to Kiwirail.


Procuring Agency: KiwiRail is leading the procurement for both the ferries and the Waitohi Picton Ferry Precinct Redevelopment.
Successful Tenderer: Preferred bidder: Hyundai Mipo Dockyard


Dec 2019 A community engagement session was held for the redevelopment of Picton Ferry Precinct.
Feb 2020 KiwiRail completed the Request for Information process for the procurement of a shipyard to build the new ships.
Mar 2020 The plans for redevelopment of Picton Ferry Precinct were opened for further public consultation. The consultation period ended in April 2020.
May 2020 KiwiRail issued Request for Proposals to shortlisted shipyards to deliver the two ships. The shortlist was not publicly disclosed.
Jun 2020 KiwiRail issued a Notices of Information for the market engagement process for construction and maintenance of the Picton Ferry Terminal Project. The New Zealand Government also announced the resource consent approval for the Picton Ferry Dock and Terminal Upgrade will be fast-tracked under the COVID-19 Recovery Bill. This would reduce the consenting time to 45 to 70 working days.
Oct 2020 KiwiRail issued another Notice of Information updating the market that the procurement commencement for the Waitohi Picton Ferry Precinct Redevelopment is now expected in the first quarter of 2021.
Dec 2020 Hyundai Mipo Dockyard was named as the preferred proponent to deliver the two new Interislander ferries.
May 2021 The project was approved by the expert consenting panel under the fast-track consenting process.
Other Transport
Procurement approach
Service Contract |
New Zealand |
Government resources
Notice of Information - 30/10/2020