KiwiRail looks into easing congested freight

KiwiRail is working around the clock to improve the movement of freight to and from the country’s two biggest ports, Auckland and Tauranga, which are congested.No caption

The domestic supply chain is congested, with industrial action at Australian ports and disruption in other key markets, combined with the annual pre-Christmas freight rush and peak export season.

KiwiRail has increased its freight service between Auckland and Tauranga and is ready to put on more services between Wellington and Auckland.

Chief executive Greg Miller said rail is the last major part in the supply chain.

”We are releasing a lot more train allocations and increasing capacity to help de-congest the supply chain to try and get products to market pre-Christmas. We have increased the available capacity between Auckland and Tauranga by 20 percent in the last two weeks.”

Miller said port companies in Auckland and Wellington are doing all they can to reduce congestion.

He said there is more customers can do to speed up the process.

”We are asking all freight forwarders to clear their containers from inland depots as quickly as practical.

”Notification of container arrivals is something that everybody is discussing and the advanced shipping intel is getting out there but we are asking all truck companies and international forwarders to clear their cargoes as soon as they possibly can,” he said.

A shortage of containers could spell problems for this country’s exporters as congestion at ports slows the supply chain.

Miller said delays in inbound cargo cause a flow-on effect meaning fewer containers are available for use to export goods.

”There are challenges of empty containers being available for exporters because of the inbound effect. So in the supply chain if you get something like a Covid or an industrial issue you can very quickly get delays that ripple up and down the supply chain.

”So that is why we need to work in a co-ordinated way with everybody.”

Miller said it could take some time before freight movements are back to a more normal level.

KiwiRail and CentrePort in Wellington are trying to come up with ways to work together to help relieve the pressure.

CentrePort chief executive Derek Nind said his port is ready to play its part by trying to ensure that customers do not face delays of up to three months in having their freight delivered.

”CentrePort has the capacity to process additional cargo from ships unloading in Wellington. Working with KiwiRail, the freight would be put on northbound trains to get to their ultimate destination in a timely manner,” he said.

Port of Tauranga says no cruise ships for two years will cost economy $100m

Port of Tauranga doesn’t expect cruise ships to visit for the next two summers.
DOMINICO ZAPATA/STUFFPort of Tauranga doesn’t expect cruise ships to visit for the next two summers.

Port of Tauranga is not expecting any cruise ship visits for the next two summers, leaving a $100 million hole in the regional economy.

The cruise season traditionally runs from October to April, but border closures in March because of to Covid-19 have cancelled ship visits indefinitely.

“Despite the premature and sudden end to the summer cruise ship season due to Covid-19, we still hosted a total of 106 passenger vessels, just 10 fewer than last season,” chief executive Mark Cairns told the port company’s annual meeting on Friday.

“However, we are not budgeting for any cruise ship visits this summer or even the following. Whilst this doesn’t represent a significant amount of marine revenue for the port, it is around $100m of cash receipts that will not be going into the regional economy.”

Tauranga is New Zealand’s biggest shipping hub, moving goods to and from other ports around the country, and its wider business has been hurt by a slowdown in shipping because of Covid-19. Profit dropped 10 per cent last year, after cracking $100m the previous year, as the pandemic curtailed ship visits and reduced volumes moving through the port.

“It would certainly be an understatement to describe 2020 as a tumultuous year,” Cairns said.PauseMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 3:08Loaded: 15.97% FullscreenJASON DORDAY/STUFFLabour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson talks to business owners at an Auckland Business Chamber event.

Despite the “Herculean efforts” of the company’s staff who continued as essential workers during lockdown and even set a new record for moving containers on a single vessel, Covid-19 had inevitably impacted the port’s cargo volumes and financial results last year, he said.

“We are confident of growth over the long-term at the port, and our ability to retain and grow market share,” he said.

“The outlook for the 2021 financial year has, however, presented a few short-term headwinds. Covid makes it extremely difficult to forecast future trade flows.”

In the first quarter of the new financial year, from July 1 to September 30, the port made an after-tax profit of $21.5m, little changed from $21.7m last year, Cairns said.

Based on the first-quarter performance, Cairns said he expected full-year profit of between $86m and $93m. That compares with a $90m profit last year.

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns presided over his last annual meeting ahead of his retirement.
IAIN MCGREGOR/STUFFPort of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns presided over his last annual meeting ahead of his retirement.

“Port of Tauranga is a long-run infrastructure company and we will continue to pursue capacity expansion and greater efficiencies, to avoid the bottlenecks and congestion currently being experienced in the Upper North Island supply chain,” he said.

“We believe we are well-placed to weather whatever the Covid-19 storm throws at us next.”

Cairns was presiding over his last annual meeting of the company, having previously announced his intention to retire at the end of this financial year, after 15 years with the port.

In the first quarter, the port handled nearly 6.4 million tonnes of cargo, a 5 per cent drop from last year, while containerised cargo fell 8 per cent.

Imports were the same as the first quarter last year, but exports fell 8 per cent.

Log exports were performing in line with forecasts of 6.2 million tonnes for the full year, but remain vulnerable to variable international demand, he said.

Dairy product exports dropped about 12 per cent from last year, which Cairns attributed to seasonal variations. Kiwifruit exports increased 9 per cent.

Port of Tauranga shares fell 1.5 per cent on Friday to $7.24, and have dropped 7.4 per cent this year.

Covid 19 coronavirus: International crews arriving at Auckland and Tauranga ports now face mandatory isolation

International crews arriving at the Ports of Auckland and Tauranga must now complete 14 days in managed isolation. Photo / File
International crews arriving at the Ports of Auckland and Tauranga must now complete 14 days in managed isolation. Photo / File

NZ Herald – By: Courtney Winter

Two of the country’s biggest ports are now requiring all international crews to do 14 days in managed isolation – and they want other ports to follow suit.

The ports of Auckland and Tauranga made the move despite Health Minister Chris Hipkins saying today that this would mean a number of ships wouldn’t come to New Zealand.

Hipkins told RNZ that every crewmember entering the country could soon be required to be tested for Covid 19 but he’s yet to decide whether to put all shipping crews through managed isolation.

The current situation is that crew who are flown into New Zealand are taken straight to the port to join their vessel if it is leaving port that day, after being collected by a vehicle with a driver in PPE gear.

Ports of Auckland’s general communications manager Matt Ball said the 14-day managed isolation requirement was introduced last week, after it became clear the likely source of the current port worker cluster was eight Philippine seamen who went through the port untested.

Ball said the port has had a positive response from its shipping companies regarding the requirement.

He said it gave crews and shipping companies reassurance there were no infected people on board.

A Port of Tauranga spokesperson said the company sent an advisory notice to shipping agents last night requiring international crew members joining a vessel in Tauranga to complete 14 days in managed isolation and test negative for Covid-19.

The port understood this created logistical challenges for its shipping line customers, the notice said.

“However, we cannot risk having to close the port due to operational staff being in quarantine.”

All international crews arriving in the Port of Tauranga now face a mandatory two-week quarantine. Photo / File
All international crews arriving in the Port of Tauranga now face a mandatory two-week quarantine. Photo / File

The Ministry of Health didn’t answer specific questions. However, in a statement it said it regularly reviewed the Covid-19 strategy to ensure that it remained fit for purpose for its elimination strategy – this included reviewing what the testing programme for port workers and crew members looked like.

Health officials were working closely with border agencies on how to limit the risk of Covid-19, it said.

Immigration New Zealand said between 10 August and 26 October, 466 individuals were approved a critical purpose visa for the purposes of travelling to New Zealand as ‘replacement cargo ship crew’. It said 324 of those individuals have arrived in New Zealand and 142 were yet to arrive.

Today marked six straight days of no Covid cases in the community, but health authorities are still questioning how the virus once again slipped through New Zealand’s borders.

It’s the longest run of no new cases in the community since the marine engineer tested positive for the virus on October 16.

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday announced all close and casual contacts of the engineer had tested negative for the virus.

Overall there had been nearly 40,000 tests since the case was announced.

This was despite two of the man’s colleagues, who also boarded the foreign vessel the Sofrana Surville, testing positive and visiting a range of Auckland venues including Malt Bar in Greenhithe on the Friday evening, along with a gym, bank and several stores.

While the potential for an outbreak would remain until two full incubation cycles after October 16 – 28 days – so far it appears the city may have dodged a bullet that could have potentially plunged it back into lockdown.

Infectious diseases expert Professor David Murdoch said the main takeaway from the rapid containment of the cluster was that the system is working as intended.

“It has been picked up quickly, we’ve managed to find the source – unlike the previous outbreak, there’s been rigorous contact tracing and genome sequencing.”

The fact an infected person had been in a crowded bar on a Friday evening, what could have been a “super spreader” event, and there had so far been no repercussions was not necessarily just luck, Murdoch said.

“Not knowing the exact details, but it appears they’d only been exposed that morning, so that is fairly early on and might be the reason they were not infectious.”

Just two new cases of Covid-19 were announced today, both caught at the border.

Port of Tauranga CEO Mark Cairns to retire

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns. Photo / George Novak
Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns. Photo / George Novak

By: Andrea FoxHerald business writerandrea.fox@nzme.co.nz

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns will retire in June next year.

He will be succeeded by the listed company’s chief operating officer Leonard Sampson.

Cairns, 58, will step aside after more than 15 years heading New Zealand’s largest port, during which time its market capitalisation increased more than seven times, by $4.4 billion, to $5.1b today.

Chairman David Pilkington said under Cairns’ leadership, the port company had grown from a regional bulk export port to New Zealand’s international cargo hub and one of its most successful listed companies.

During his time in the job the average compounding total shareholder return had been 19 per cent per year.

When Cairns became chief executive in 2005, the port handled 12.6 million tonnes of cargo and 438,214 containers a year.

In the year to June this year, those tallies had swelled to 24.8m tonnes of cargo and 1.25m containers.

Cairns said the next stage of his career would be in governance.

Craigs Investment Partners head of private wealth research Mark Lister said he was confident Cairns would be in demand as a director.

“Mark has done a great job, and under his command Port of Tauranga has grown significantly, been an industry leader across the board, and delivered excellent returns to shareholders.

“He will be missed, and as is the case whenever a strong CEO chooses to hang up their boots, the focus will be on the company to see if it can continue to deliver in his absence.

“It will certainly be the end of an era, but Mark is still fairly young and enthusiastic, as well as being very capable, so I’m sure he will have no shortage of offers on the governance front,” Lister said.
Jarden managing director, head of research Arie Dekker said Cairns oversaw a period in which investors had seen material capital appreciation.

“The strategy and execution under Mark’s leadership has seen Port of Tauranga materially outpace its competitors.

“Highlights include strategic investments into MetroPort and Timaru and the Kotahi deal – these have helped underpin Tauranga as New Zealand’s leading port.”

Chief executive-designate Sampson was appointed chief operating officer a year ago after six years as the port’s commercial manager. Previously he was general manager sales at KiwiRail.

Pilkington said the company’s success had delivered wide-ranging benefits to the Bay of Plenty region. Local ratepayers own just over half of Port of Tauranga’s shares through regional council entity Quayside Holdings.

A highlight of Cairns’ time as chief executive is considered to be the port’s ambitious play to become the only New Zealand port able to accommodate the world’s biggest cargo ships. This was via a six-year, $350m capital expansion programme intended to cement its future as the country’s premier freight gateway and hub and feeder port.

In an interview with the Herald in 2018, Cairns recalled the analysis had been gruelling and the commercial risk high.

“For a company of our size with a $2.5 billion market cap at the time, to embark on a $350 million capital expansion programme was a big commercial risk.

“We had to back ourselves to attract that cargo. It was a lot of money and the board put a lot of commercial tension around it.”

In late 2016, following dredging to deepen and widen the port’s shipping channels, major landside operational change to handle the anticipated big increase in cargo, and the securing of long term customer contracts to drive container volumes, the first of the big ships tied up at Tauranga – the only port able to accommodate them on international services.

The strategy paid off. In the 2019 financial year the port company cracked $100 million profit for the first time.

Napier-born Cairns, who has a civil engineering degree with first class honours and master of management and business studies degrees, was previously chief executive at Toll Owens and at Owens Cargo.

“The time feels right to hand over to the next generation to continue the Port of Tauranga’s success into the future,” he said.

“Port of Tauranga is in excellent shape. I’m incredibly proud of our people and the positive outcomes we have achieved for our customers and our community.”

Covid 19 coronavirus: Auckland and Tauranga port communities caught in mass Covid-19 test order

Ports of Auckland Covid-19 test station has tested more than 1000 people. Photo / File
Ports of Auckland Covid-19 test station has tested more than 1000 people. Photo / File

By: Andrea Fox Herald business writer andrea.fox@nzme.co.nz

The logistics skills of the busy ports of Auckland and Tauranga are being showcased to the max as they respond to out-of-the-blue and fast-changing Ministry of Health directives to ensure urgent Covid-19 testing of all their users and staff.

Both ports say the latest, much expanded, directive, issued on Saturday just hours after director general of health Ashley Bloomfield surprised the sector with an urgent testing order, will affect about 6000 people at each port – but they expect little disruption to operations.

However the Road Transport Forum says the Government’s “panicked reaction” to try to find if freight is the source of the return of Covid-19’s community transmission, is causing “mayhem” at the ports for trucking operators.

On Friday with no warning, Bloomfield ordered “everyone who works at the maritime border” to be tested by 11.59pm on Monday night. Testing applied for all people who worked at ports around New Zealand who might come into contact with ships’ crew.

With testing facilities reportedly scarce or stretched even this was a tall order, but Saturday’s order widened the test requirement to anyone who had worked at Auckland or Tauranga ports since 11.59pm on Tuesday July 21. According to spokespeople for the two ports, collectively that involves about 12,000 people.

Those having to be tested included shipping agents, stevedores, cargo drivers, contractors, suppliers of goods and services, government agency employees and any crew members who may have come ashore.

The ports were to work with their local DHBs and take all practical steps to ensure their constituents were aware of the order. People could be tested at a community testing centre or at a testing centre set up at the port.

Auckland’s port has had a testing facility waterside since Thursday. A spokesman said around 1000 people had been tested over three days.

A Port of Tauranga spokeswoman said the port had set up a testing site for the DHB, but as at Sunday evening there were no DHB testers yet on site.

She said as it was surveillance testing, people without symptoms were not required to wait until they had test results before returning to work.

“Work groups are separated at the moment due to Covid-19 precautions so it would be highly unlikely that any infection would spread far,” she said.

A Maritime NZ notice said a message about the broader testing requirement had been sent to all port companies, stevedoring companies, unions, harbourmasters, agents, organisations representing the marine industry, fishing operators and maritime operators.

The Ports of Auckland spokesman said it was important to note that port workers never directly touched freight, which was handled remotely or by machines. Containers were never opened at the port by workers. The port had had Covid-19 security and restrictions in place since late January, he said.


“Work groups are separated at the moment due to Covid-19 precautions so it would be highly unlikely that any infection would spread far,” a port spokeswoman said.

Disabled Bulker Towed to Dock in Tauranga

disabled bulker towed to the dock in New Zealand
Funing under tow – courtesy Maritime New Zealand

The Singapore-flagged bulker Funing has been brought safely alongside at the Port of Tauranga on the north island of New Zealand. The vessel experienced a power failure while in the main shipping channel and for a time threatened navigation to New Zealand’s largest port.

The 40,000 DWT bulk carrier was departing New Zealand bound for China with a load of timber on July 6 when it lost engine power at approximately 12:30 am local time while in the main shipping channel. There was a pilot aboard at the time but Maritime New Zealand reported that the weather conditions were considered poor with a 30 knot wind and significant swell.

After losing power the Funing was unable to steer and began drifting due to the high winds and tides in the area. The vessel snagged the chains holding one of the buoys marking the shipping channel. The tides and currents then pushed the Funing across the channel before the ship was able to anchor and hold position.

At the time of the incident, there were 20 crew members aboard. None of the crew was injured and Maritime New Zealand said that there were no reports of oil or other pollution from the vessel.

Funing disabled at anchorage – courtesy Maritime New Zealand

New Zealand dispatched two tugs to the vessel’s assistance and they were later able to tow the Funing to deeper water and a safe anchorage. An inspection of the propeller and rudder was conducted by divers because it was believed that the vessel had made contact with a marker buoy at the harbor entrance. 

After having remained at anchorage for the past week, the offshore tug Pacific Runner arrived in Tauranga to assist the Funing. They completed a towage trial this morning and later in the day towed the vessel to the dock in Tauranga

A further investigation of the incident will be conducted. Repairs are also commencing and expected to last up to 14 days before the Funing can resume its voyage to China.

Stranded Tauranga ship: Two investigations launched after engine failure

Mauao walkers could see the ship anchored at sunrise. Photo / Trent Sunderland
Mauao walkers could see the ship anchored at sunrise. Photo / Trent Sunderland

Bay of Plenty Times

Dual investigations have been launched after a log carrier’s engine failed at the entrance to Port of Tauranga this morning.

The Singaporean-registered log carrier, Funing-9690913, was bound for China when it lost power at the entrance to the Port of Tauranga about 12.30am.

Without power, it could not steer and drifted to the edge of the channel at the base of Mauao. It is believed to have snagged a marker buoy.

About 20 crew members were on board and there were no reported injuries.

The ship was towed away and is now anchored in deep water outside Tauranga Harbour.

The Funing will not return to port until authorities give permission and its propeller and rudder must be inspected by divers.

The ship’s hull is understood to be intact and there was no pollution.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission and Maritime New Zealand are investigating the incident.

The commission’s investigation will focus on the causes and circumstances of the incident and the Maritime NZ investigation will focus on whether the rules were followed correctly.

Maritime New Zealand’s deputy director of safety response systems, Nigel Clifford, said the vessel would be able to continue on to China, if it is “safe to sail without repairs”.

“If the vessel requires repairs a repair plan will be established by the owners. Authorities would overview any such proposals.”

Commission spokesman Simon Pleasants said a team of three investigators left Wellington for Tauranga mid-morning.

He was not sure whether they would board the ship this afternoon as the interviews could take some time and, for safety reasons, they would not want to be disembarking at night.

A Port of Tauranga spokeswoman said the ship was being piloted out of the harbour “as normal” when the engine failure happened.

“A second pilot was transferred on to the vessel several hours after … to relieve/assist the first pilot.” Both pilots had since been taken off the ship.

Tug boats were also requested to help the vessel.

“Our marine teams did an amazing job in keeping the stricken vessel steady and then towing it to safety.”

“The wind and swell was challenging for all vessels involved but the conditions eased throughout the morning,” she said.

The view of the anchored ship from Mauao. Photo / Trent Sunderland
The view of the anchored ship from Mauao. Photo / Trent Sunderland

The engine failure delayed the arrival of one container ship and one log ship, but there were no long-term impacts from the incident.

“We frequently deal with shipping delays and changes due to weather and other operational reasons.”

There was a 30-knot wind and significant swell when the engine failed.

High tide was at 7.40am.

The Mauao Base Track was closed as a precaution on request from the Harbourmaster but was reopened by midday.

Moana Chief – media release from Pacifica

Pacifica are proud to announce that our new vessel Moana Chief, sailed into Auckland this week on her delivery voyage to begin a new life dedicated to the NZ coast.
We plan to phase her into service this week commencing with voyage 4132 departing Auckland Friday 20 September which will coincide with the departure of Spirit of Canterbury.
The Moana Chief brings over 50% greater capacity than SPOC (1700 teu Vs 1100 teu) and will operate on the same fixed day weekly schedule ;
rotating Auckland →Lyttleton →Nelson →Tauranga .
Pacifica’s introduction of additional capacity is a significant investment and commitment from our parent company Swire , and is a response to the growing demand for reliable access to the “Blue Highway” connecting key North & South Island ports .


As N.Z’s only dedicated weekly coastal carrier Pacifica are uniquely placed to offer a sustainable year-round solution for your wharf/wharf or door/door FCL shipments.
We also take this opportunity to pay tribute to the mighty SPOC for years of dependable service ; she never missed a beat during the hundreds of voyages around N.Z and we wish her continued smooth sailings in her next deployment.

Port of Tauranga signs 30 year train agreement

Port of Tauranga Chief Executive, Mark Cairns, left, and Tainui Group Holdings Chief Executive, Chris Joblin, right.

Port of Tauranga and the TGH-subsidiary Port Ruakura LP today announced a long term partnership to support the development of the planned Ruakura Inland Port at Hamilton. 

The agreement allows Port of Tauranga’s cargo trains running between MetroPort Auckland and Tauranga to service Ruakura Inland Port, giving Waikato-based importers and exporters direct access to fast international shipping services calling at Tauranga.

Tauranga is the only port call for the biggest container ships visiting New Zealand.

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns says the planned Ruakura Inland Port offers significant cargo handling capacity and scope to meet future needs.

The 480 hectare Ruakura estate has 192 hectares earmarked for logistics and industrial uses including the planned 30 hectare inland port. 

“The Ruakura development will provide a highly efficient rail hub in the Waikato by utilising our existing train services linking our MetroPort Auckland inland freight hub with Port of Tauranga, which is New Zealand’s international hub port and the main cargo gateway for the upper North Island,” he says. 

“It’s an excellent example of Port of Tauranga’s partnership approach to providing supply chain infrastructure beyond our Bay of Plenty hinterland.” 

Tainui Group Holdings Chief Executive Chris Joblin welcomed the long-term partnership on behalf of Port Ruakura LP. 

“This initial 30-year agreement with Port of Tauranga is a key step towards fulfilling our vision for Ruakura to unlock the golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga for importers and exporters,” he says. 

“The agreement will see Port of Tauranga trains initially call at Ruakura four times daily and this is likely to grow. This service will underpin the significant supply chain savings we have been modelling with prospective customers and tenants of Ruakura,” he says.

The golden triangle already accounts for around half of all freight volumes in New Zealand and container volumes are forecast to grow 60 per cent in container volumes by 2042.

Port of Tauranga’s partner KiwiRail operates up to 86 trains per week between MetroPort Auckland and Tauranga, carrying up to 9000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).

The route currently has unused capacity and the additional service stop will improve utilisation and reduce the number of trucks on roads.

The agreement provides Port of Tauranga with priority rail slots at the Ruakura facility for an initial term of 30 years.

Port Ruakura LP will provide the necessary infrastructure, including a rail siding, hardstand and cargo storage areas. 

Development of the Ruakura Inland Port is scheduled to follow the completion of an adjacent Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway currently expected to be late 2021. 

KiwiRail CEO Greg Miller says the Upper North Island is a key growth region for KiwiRail and New Zealand. 

“This is another example of the supply chain collaborating with KiwiRail to design and deliver rail infrastructure to better connect New Zealand.”

Port of Tauranga partners with Waikato-Tainui owned Ruakura inland port

Tainui Holdings Group CEO Chris Joblin said the agreement with Port of Tauranga is a key step.
TOM LEE/STUFFTainui Holdings Group CEO Chris Joblin said the agreement with Port of Tauranga is a key step.

Developers of the Ruakura inland port in Hamilton have taken a big step forward by signing a 30-year partnership with the Port of Tauranga.

Port of Tauranga and the Tainui Group Holdings subsidiary, Port Ruakura LP, announced the agreement on Thursday.

Cargo shipped by a rail between Auckland and Tauranga will be handled at Ruakura and will meet the future needs of the company, Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said.

An artist's impression of the full Ruakura Inland Port development.
SUPPLIEDAn artist’s impression of the full Ruakura Inland Port development.

“The Ruakura development will provide a highly efficient rail hub in the Waikato by utilising our existing train services linking our MetroPort Auckland inland freight hub with Port of Tauranga.”

Port of Tauranga will have priority rail slots at the Ruakura facility with Port Ruakura LP providing the infrastructure including a rail siding, hardstand and cargo storage.

Waikato-based importers and exporters will have direct access to international shipping services at Tauranga.

The 480-hectare Ruakura estate has 192 hectares earmarked for logistics and industrial uses and the planned 30 hectare inland port.

Tainui Group Holdings chief executive Chris Joblin said the initial 30-year agreement is a key step toward unlocking the economic golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga for importers and exporters.

“The agreement will see Port of Tauranga trains initially call at Ruakura four times daily and this is likely to grow,” Joblin said. “This service will underpin the significant supply chain savings we have been modelling with prospective customers and tenants of Ruakura.”

About half of all freight volumes in New Zealand occur in the golden triangle and container volumes are forecast to grow 60 per cent by 2042. Tauranga handles the biggest container ships to visit New Zealand. 

KiwiRail operates up to 86 trains per week between MetroPort Auckland and Tauranga, hauling up to 9000 twenty-foot equivalent units and the route has unused capacity.

KiwiRail CEO Greg Miller says the upper North Island is a key growth region for KiwiRail and the country.

“This is another example of the supply chain collaborating with KiwiRail to design and deliver rail infrastructure to better connect New Zealand,” Miller said.

Development of the Ruakura Inland Port is scheduled after the completion of the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway in 2021.

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