There are no bookings for a new $67 million cruise ship berth in Lyttelton, ahead of its expected opening this month.
The Lyttelton Port Company had aimed to finish its new berth by November 2020, and despite interruptions by Covid-19, it will open on time and on budget.
The design was changed to ensure there was little impact on marine life, in particular Hector's dolphins, which environment campaigners had previously been concerned about.
"It is...built for the largest cruise vessels that come into New Zealand," said Mike Simmers, LPC's infrastructure and property general manager.
The berth was 148 meters long, would include amenities for users, and had a walkway to shelter cruise ship passengers.
It was designed to withstand significant seismic events and ensure ships are safe from wind and waves.
Despite Covid-19 wreaking havoc on construction projects across New Zealand, Simmers said the project was finished on time and under the $67m budget, in time for an opening later this month.
"Everything went extremely well...most things went our way," he said.
However, something outside of their control had not gone their way – cruise ship bookings.
"We had over 80 [cruise ships] that we were planning for this season, now we are planning for no cruise vessels," he said.
"There might be one or two but we are actually planning for zero."
He said on a personal level, that aspect of the project was "heart-breaking" given how well everything else went.
"From a business perspective we've spent a lot of money to get here and that cruise revenue won't be coming, but overall, we're quite delighted we've got to where we've got to."
In the meantime, Simmers said LPC was looking at other uses for the berth until cruise ships returned, including the fishing industry and banana boats.
"But to be clear this was specifically designed for cruise ship vessels so we can't use it as a container wharf for example because we can't get container cranes out to it."
Meanwhile, the historic Lyttelton Lighthouse had been put back on the mole, at the start of the berth.
It had sat on the harbour for 130 years before the September 2010 earthquake left it leaning to one side. It had been in storage since 2011.
The berth was expected to open at a ceremony later this month.