New Zealand Supermarket, New World, recently put into service a uniquely customised Sealegs 9.0m Hydrasol RIB to deliver groceries, by boat, to selected beachfront communities and anchored boats in the Coromandel Peninsula.
The New World amphibious Sealegs was ordered to ensure hassle-free summer shopping for thousands of customers. The Coromandel welcomes more than 500,000 visitors each summer, putting strain and causing issues for supermarket operators and customers alike, so New World Whitianga owner-operator Kerry Stanley came up with an idea to utilize the amphibious capabilities of a Sealegs craft to combat these issues.
The Waka Kai is not your standard Sealegs craft, and Kerry worked with Sealegs and his skipper to customise the craft to suit his application and the demands of commercial operations.
The initiative was planned to originally run until February 2020, but due to significant demand, has continued throughout March 2020 and beyond. It was in significant demand during the COVID-19 lockdown period where delivery of groceries to homeowners in isolation was an essential service.
Read more from Kerry Stanley below
What challenges were you trying to solve?
Provide grocery shopping to customers without the need to travel long distances with heavy traffic. Having an innovative and fun solution to a very real problem of how to get our groceries into people’s homes with less hassle, and more fun.
How were these challenges affecting your business?
It was difficult to service customers with existing road vehicles due to the geographic spread around the coromandel coast. Customers often complained about the distance and traffic encountered when picking up their groceries from the store. In addition to this, with the inflation in population during peak periods, we would have queues running up and down isles in our Whitianga store. Waka Kai would not only keep people off the roads, it would also free up resources within the store itself.
What possible solutions did you consider?
We looked at all options including traditional boats.
Why did you choose Sealegs?
Logistics and safety of beaching a traditional boat onto beaches and transporting high-value and perishable groceries were real concerns. A Sealegs avoided these risks whilst also providing a fun, innovative and enjoyable solution to delivering our goods.
What reservations did you have?
Cost and serviceability of the vessel were concerns we had upfront, but working with the team at Sealegs, seeing the manufacturing process, the quality of materials and the level of quality in the finished product allayed these concerns. Post-sale Sealegs have been brilliant, from spending a lot of time training our boat crew, to the support they have provided in working through some of the challenges we faced with such a unique application of their product.
What measurable benefits have you seen?
The service has taken-off. It has become a talking point among our customer base and we regularly see the service booked-solid during peak periods. It has also allowed us access to sell groceries to new markets that we previously couldn’t reach on islands and superyachts.
Waka Kai delivers to the following beaches:
- Opito Bay
- Cooks Beach
- Great Mercury Island
- Slipper Island