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Peter Reidy

Fletcher nabs KiwiRail CEO Peter Reidy

Fletcher construction project Commercial Bay, Britomart, Auckland. Photo by Lynn Grieveson

Fletcher Building has picked up KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy to head the company’s construction division, which oversees the problematic Buildings + Interiors unit.

The Auckland-based company will move current construction head Michele Kernahan to lead its building products unit as part of the move, with Reidy joining in early November. Fletcher’s acting head of building products, David Thomas, will shift back to general manager of Winston Wallboards.

“We remain focused on stabilising our construction division, and in particular, increasing our focus on lower-risk, more profitable sectors such as infrastructure and roading,” group chief executive Ross Taylor said in a statement. “Peter has a strong track record of leading infrastructure businesses, including in his current role at KiwiRail and previously as chief operating officer infrastructure services with Downer Group in Australia.”

Fletcher is restructuring its businesses under new CEO Taylor, which includes getting the construction unit on an even footing after it took on a number of unprofitable projects in its B+I business. From this month, Fletcher restructured into seven divisions from its previous five, including a standalone Australia unit which could grow over the next five years to equal or exceed the size of Fletcher’s New Zealand operations. Fletcher is also selling its Formica and Roof Tile businesses.

Reidy will end a four-year term in charge of the state-owned enterprise and has been working closely with the new administration on how to best fund the company in an environment where rail has been included in the national land transport plan for the first time and is seen as an integral part of a countrywide strategy.

KiwiRail’s board said it has immediately started a search for a new CEO.

Fletcher shares last traded at $7.01 and have climbed 27 percent from a trough in early April.

KiwiRail: We can’t be complacent on climate change

OPINION: KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy was one of 14 New Zealand chief executives who came together last year to look at what they could do about climate change. Along with 59 others, he has signed the CEO Climate Change Statement, aimed at reducing carbon emissions in New Zealand. Here, he explains why:

One of the KiwiRail values that you’ll hear our people talk about around our yards, track and in lunchrooms up and down the country, is “care and protect”.

When you’re a 155-year-old business protecting not only our people in some of the most difficult workplaces in the country, but also the public who travel with us, living up to that value is critical.

But we also see ourselves as caring for and protecting one of New Zealand’s most valuable assets – our land and environment.

It is for this reason that this week I joined with 59 other New Zealand’s major business leaders to sign up to the Climate Leaders Coalition.

We are in a race to protect New Zealand from the harshest effects of climate change and committing to a low-emissions economy is a big step that business can take to help us win this race.

While transport accounts for 17 per cent of New Zealand’s carbon emissions, rail generates just 1 per cent of that total.

Peter Reidy

While transport accounts for 17 per cent of New Zealand’s carbon emissions, rail generates just 1 per cent of that total.

For KiwiRail that means doing all we can to move as much freight and as many people possible on to rail. Every tonne of freight carried by KiwiRail means a 66 per cent carbon emissions saving over heavy road freight.

When New Zealanders use rail they help reduce emissions by taking trucks and cars off the road, easing congestion and saving taxpayers money on road maintenance while making our roads safer.

While transport accounts for 17 per cent of New Zealand’s carbon emissions, rail generates just 1 per cent of that total.

Even so, when you move 25 per cent of the country’s exports, you are still using a lot of fuel.

KiwiRail takes that responsibility seriously – we have already cut our fuel consumption, and we are committed to cutting it further. We are serious about solutions and we are already dedicating very real resources, expertise and money to planning and projects that will allow us to further reduce our energy consumption and emissions.

The Locomotive Fuel Savings project has already shown significant success, delivering fuel savings of 16 million litres, or $11 million, since 2015 through the ground-breaking Driver Advisory System (DAS) and other energy initiatives on our rail freight services. DAS is our new in-cab technology system that advises drivers when to brake, coast and accelerate depending on terrain and freight loads, achieving significant fuel savings.

Now, with the help of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), we are looking to make savings on our ferry operations through a similar approach, monitoring fuel usage and sailing performance.

There will be  those who say KiwiRail has no right to lead a  discussion on climate change given we are replacing nine ageing electric locomotives on a  section of the central North Island Main Trunk line. This tiny, orphan fleet is not helping us to get more freight onto rail through simplifying our operations and standardising our assets.

But there is a bigger, longer-term picture that we are working on for our busiest routes between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga. The energy for that may come from electricity, if we invest in the infrastructure required, or it may come from a whole new fuel source for rail – hydrogen.

 Signing today’s statement cements KiwiRail’s commitment to a low emissions economy and to exploring all ways to get there. It is urgent that New Zealand increases the pace of its transition and today shows that our business leaders believe that.

This is our time to make the best difference we can for the New Zealand of the future.

Peter Reidy is KiwiRail’s chief executive.

dave November 2, 2016 No Comments

KiwiRail faces headwind

kiwirail-faces-headwindKiwiRail’s leadership has warned the business faces a potential dip in revenue in 2017 due to “challenging” economic headwinds, at its recent annual public meeting in Wellington.

Addresses from KiwiRail chairperson John Spencer and chief executive Peter Reidy highlight those challenges as including the decline of such cargoes as coal, excess capacity on Cook Strait and the emergence of additional competition from larger-sized trucks.

Positives were noted as a potential recovery of coal prices, an increase in passenger volumes alone on Cook Strait and strong benefits from increased forestry harvesting.

In the most recent financial year, KiwiRail exceeded one of its key Statement of Corporate Intent (SCI) targets for the first time in delivering an underlying operating surplus of $86 million (excluding $10 million in one-off restructuring and Wellington Metro tender costs). However, its comparable operating revenue declined 3.7% to $694 million and was $9 million below the SCI target.

Taking positive strides to de-risk its business and find new operational efficiencies and cost-savings, KiwiRail’s leadership emphasises that its “above rail” operation is cash positive.