Container shipping at a Wellington port is back online after the port suffered damage from last week's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Shipping operations were suspended at CentrePort in the capital's harbour after the container terminal was significantly damaged.

Chief executive Derek Nind said this had forced the company to think differently about its business.

Damage caused the 7.8 earthquake at CentrePort in Wellington. PHOTO/Mark Mitchell
Damage caused the 7.8 earthquake at CentrePort in Wellington. PHOTO/Mark Mitchell

"With our two gantry cranes and container berth out of action, our staff have worked with shipping lines, customers and suppliers to find alternative ways to move containers in and out of the port and across the region, which will give customers options to get their freight to Wellington."


One new way includes using container ships with their own cranes. This will start when MSC Penelope arrives on Monday.

Nind said the company was working on other short and medium-term solutions including mobile cranes on the wharf, and the possibility of building a bespoke platform to support the existing gantry cranes.

"The significant damage caused by the earthquake has reduced our container shipping capability in the short to medium-term," Nind said.

"We are assessing the options, while talking to our customers every day so they know what's happening."

CentrePort chairman Lachie Johnstone said the board was pleased with progress made by the port, which had worked with various agencies to get running after the quake.

"We've got ferries, fuel, logs, cars and cruise ships operating successfully and we're working on solutions for our container service, which is vital to many businesses and households across central New Zealand."

Johnstone said the company had begun talking to a range of key stakeholders about long-term measures to improve resilience at the port, which contributes $2.5 billion to GDP and supports 21,000 jobs in the central region.