Ports of Auckland to build new hub in Waikato

23 February 2016

New Zealand-based Ports of Auckland plans to develop a multi-million dollar port facility in Waikato.

The company announced it would buy 33 hectares of land at Northgate, 8km north of Hamilton with “excellent road and rail connections” to develop as a freight hub. It said the area boasted growing manufacturing, warehousing and logistics businesses.

“Establishing a freight hub in Waikato is a central part of our supply chain strategy as it is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing areas and a major freight generator,” said Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson. The Waikato region is New Zealand’s forth largest economically.

Ports of Auckland operates the Waitematā port at Auckland, New Zealand’s largest port in terms of container traffic, and the west coast port of Onehunga, as well as an inland port at Wiri on the south of the country’s North Island.

The rival Tauranga port is the country’s largest in terms of total cargo volume.

Gibson said: “The key benefit of our freight hub network is that it can be used to balance freight flows around the North Island and eliminate unnecessary movement of empty containers. By driving out waste from the supply chain we can lower the cost to importers and exporters.”

He said the Waikato freight hub would improve access to overseas markets and reduce exporters’ costs through supply chain efficiencies.

Gibson also predicted the new port would lead to better international freight links which would encourage investment in the area and provide job employment opportunities.

However, the company did not specify exactly how much the development would cost or how much cargo it was expected to handle.

“There will be significant investment in the site over a number of years, with the first step being to establish road and rail connections. Rail forms a key part of our supply chain strategy,” Gibson added.

“The Northgate site was chosen because it is beside the North Island main trunk line, with a direct link to our other freight hubs and our Waitematā seaport. The site is also located close to State Highway 1.”

Gibson added the company was committed to increasing its use of rail transport so that to 30% of traffic to its main Waitematā port would be via rail. Currently rail traffic accounts for 13% of traffic.

He said the project would adopt storm water treatment, rain water recycling, low energy use and other sustainable principles.

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