Skip to main content
24 January 2023

Noisy vessels continue to highlight challenges for New Zealand Ports

New Zealand Ports and their communities are seeing increased noise generated from vessels entering service which have a noisy low-frequency generator noise.


Ports continue to collaborate by sharing information and experiences within their communities and collectively working to address low-frequency noise issues with shipping lines.  


The most recent vessel generating noise disturbance for the Nelson community is the Maersk Nansha. The Maersk Nansha is part of the new coastal service 'Maersk Coastal Connect', which sees the vessel looping between Nelson, Tauranga, Timaru and Lyttleton.


Coastal shipping in New Zealand continues to be highlighted as a key modal freight choice and is a critical system for transporting large, heavy cargo in a more environmentally friendly way than alternatives.


Over the last 12 months, Port Nelson has seen an increased commitment from a number of shipping services. Most recently with the arrival of vessels from Move Oceans and the announcement of Maersk to increase services. Te Tauihu’s importers and exporters will benefit from the additional services after being hard hit in recent years by freight costs, space availability on ships, and delayed or cancelled vessels coming into Port.  


The Maersk Nansha was recently berthed at Port Nelson for an extended period due to a delayed departure date under the direction of Maritime NZ to address remediation works related to safety matters. Due to the extended period in Port, Port Nelson received a high number of complaints. 


Hugh Morrison, Port Nelson's Chief Executive, addresses the importance of noise mitigation for noisy vessels, "reducing noise levels from vessels visiting the region is a priority for Port Nelson. The noise source typically of concern is the clang of container movements to and from vessels, which Port Nelson has seen a significant improvement in, recording no significant noise events for over 2 years. For low-frequency generator noise, Port Nelson has been working with shipping lines to ensure they have a noise mitigation plan for vessels that are noisier than usual."


"Maersk continues to be a long-standing partner of Port Nelson and the communities’ importers and exporters. However, the level of noise complaints we have received from the community in the past week has been unacceptable. We continue to work with Maersk to receive a schedule of actions, including timeframes to mitigate the noise generated.”


Port Nelson will continue to monitor noise impacts from the Maersk Nansha and assess the mitigation measures during its upcoming visits. Port Nelson welcomes any comments from Nelson residents regarding their experience with generator noise from this vessel. Comments can be made via the Port's online feedback form Living near the Port (





For further information, please contact Jessica Ammundsen – Communications and Engagement Manager –, 0273040865.