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Mark Cairns (left), Port of Tauranga chief executive, with Chris Joblin, chief executive of Tainui Group Holdings

Port of Tauranga and Port Ruakura LP announce rail service partnership

Port of Tauranga and the Tainui Group Holdings subsidiary Port Ruakura LP have announced a long-term partnership to support the development of the planned Ruakura Inland Port at Hamilton.

WEB EXCLUSIVE

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 ha Ruakura estate has 192 ha earmarked for logistics and industrial uses, including the planned 30 ha 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.”

Unlocking the golden triangle

Tainui Group Holdings chief executive Chris Joblin has 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 adds.

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

Improved utilisation

Port of Tauranga’s partner KiwiRail operates up to 86 trains per week between MetroPort Auckland and Tauranga, carrying up to 9000 TEUs (20 ft equivalent units). The route currently has unused capacity and the additional service stop will improve utilisation and reduce the number of trucks on the 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 the 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,” he says.


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