On Monday 16 April we had the opportunity to conduct our first exploratory trip to one of the few wharves still available in Auckland; Panmure Public Wharf. The weather was fine, with a light southwesterly wind. It took approximately 2 hours to get there and about the same on the return. 9 passengers came along for the ride.
The wharf is no longer a centre of commerce, as the huge old rusty bollards would suggest was once the case. A short history of the wharf is posted, but nowadays the wharf is mostly used for jumping off. The local kids kept asking when we would be leaving so they could get back to using it. Once docked the group walked up to Panmure village, which has just a few shops. Given the regulations surrounding Panmure Wharf, it would not work for receiving or delivering cargo on a larger vessel, but might be a good place to pick up a bunch of trainees from that part of the city.
The current delivery system which sees couriers operating from their own distribution centres was illl matched to the realities of sailing and tides. The trip was geared around the delivery of a shipment from Ceres Whole Foods, but it fell through as the couriers did not prioritise the delivery to the exact time needed. In their world, if they can’t make a certain delivery, it can be delayed or postponed to another day. In the future it would be helpful to develop a dialogue with a single courier company who is sensitive to the issues around sail transport and to utilise them exclusively.
All in all it was a valuable trial run, despite the disappointment of going home without cargo. Getting firsthand experience of the limitations of the wharf and couriers while also seeing that a day trip is entirely feasible, was important. The only other place for picking up cargo in the city is the fishing boat wharf in the Viaduct Basin. and we will next think about what kind of shipment we can set up there. Please contact us with any ideas,
We have also wanted to explore a shipping excursion to the Thames. As to what relevant cargo might be available from there. It’s mostly dairying country, so we’d want to find out if there are any organic farmers or suppliers and what they have in season before going there. Any suggestions and connections to that area would be appreciated.
In any case, as we expected from the start, cargo will not be an economical part of the short-term business plan, but the cost of certifying a new ship for cargo as well as passengers would not be great, and definitely worthwhile. Then any casual cargo such as wine would be a bonus.