KiwiRail is selling its freight-only ferry, the Valentine, in order to invest in its other freight and passenger ferries.
Interislander general manager of operations Duncan Roy said it was not "operationally practical or commercially viable" to have the Valentine on a regular sailing or to maintain her on standby.
The freight-only ferry was originally leased by KiwiRail to provide additional freight capacity when the Kaiarahi went out of action for an extended gearbox repair in 2021 and it was purchased when the lease ended in January 2023.
The Valentine provided additional capacity to the Interislander fleet over the past 18 months, but has not been required consistently.
Roy said the sale made good commercial sense.
"With our fleet now back up to full strength we have sufficient freight capacity on the other three ships, so now is a good time to sell the Valentine and realise the financial benefits."
KiwiRail said it had put a number of measures in place to enhance the resilience in its fleet.
Its inspection and maintenance programme now included more frequent scheduled maintenance breaks, with ships taken out of service more regularly for maintenance checks in wet and dry dock environments, as part of a new approach to managing Interislander's assets and fleet.
Roy said ensuring the Valentine was crewed and ready for sailing was investment that could be better spent on ensuring the reliability of the existing fleet, until the new ferries arrive in 2025 and 2026.