28 Feb 2014

Aratere's troubles cost KiwiRail dear

2:30 pm on 28 February 2014

Kiwirail has confirmed the loss of its Aratere ferry when its propeller broke off the ship will cost the company about $30 million.

The figure in the company's financial report for the six months to the end of last year, doesn't include the cost of actually fixing the ferry, but does include having to bring in a replacement vessel.

The Aratere's problems have cost KiwiRail dearly.

The Aratere's problems have cost KiwiRail dearly. Photo: RNZ

Aratere lost its propeller when a shaft broke in early November, just before the busy Christmas travel period.

It was replaced by Stena Alegra from Poland - that ferry can carry a maximum of 350 passengers, 250 fewer than Aratere.

The loss of the Aratere hit several earning areas for the company, including the passenger service, rail freight and commercial vehicle transport.

Chief executive Jim Quinn says there are some positive signs for revenue and freight volumes over the next five months and it will be able to claw some of the loss back, but not all of it.

Aratere is in Singapore being repaired and will return to service in May.