Construction has started on a major new freight transport hub in Horotiu, north of Hamilton.
Open Country Dairy, New Zealand’s second largest exporter of whole milk power, will be the first tenant at the port and their facility will be up and running by early 2019.
51 Horotiu Road may look like one big paddock right now, but it is set to be an inland port in the Waikato owned by the Ports of Auckland.
Reinhold Goeschl, general manager of supply chain, estimates in five years there will be 300 people working within the hub.
Open Country Dairy (OCD) was the first to sign up. They’ll use one of the warehouses, while the others are yet to be snapped up.
Containers will arrive at the hub full of imported goods to be distributed around the region.
Once emptied, OCD will instantly refill those containers with exports like milk powder to be sent straight back.
Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson says it’s taking a cost out of the supply chain.
“By using rail, we’re making it a very sustainable option.”
The inland port is right in the heart of what’s known as the golden triangle, and with the expressway and railways both nearby, moving freight to the three points of that triangle – Hamilton, Auckland and Tauranga – becomes very easy.
But they’ve got some competition just down the road. The Ruakura Inland Port is also under development.
Coming in at just 33 hectares, it has nothing on the OCD’s 480 hectares. Mr Gibson has dismissed the idea of competition.
“Given the migration of business and distribution centres from Auckland, there are significant opportunities for us both.”
Both ports are intended to boost jobs, infrastructure and business in the area.
Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson says the more the merrier.
“We haven’t even tried to go out and sell ourselves yet, it’s just coming to us by the truckload.”