Two rail sidings at KiwiRail’s Southdown freight hub have been transformed to accommodate “giant” forklifts able to carry 80 tonnes of containers in order to improve the transfer of freight around the North Island generated by the new “mega ships” calling at the Port of Tauranga.

KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy says the upgrade illustrates his business’ commitment to support its customers’ growing demand in the aim of working collaboratively to “boost New Zealand’s exports and grow the economy”.

“The increasing traffic from North Island ports and the arrival of mega ships carrying thousands of containers means KiwiRail needs to ensure we have the capacity to support this increased demand,” he says.

“As well as enabling our customers, the upgrade will lead to improved safety, increased reliability and greater efficiency of our rail services.

“We now have two, top-class tracks with a 50-year life.”

Involving 1200 cubic metres of concrete and 10,000 cubic metres of asphalt, the sidings were transformed in a ten-day, 24-hour operation entailing over 9000 worker hours.

“Our people did an exceptional job and completed the project on time and within budget. We are very proud to be playing our role in helping to grow New Zealand.”