KiwiRail: New Freight Hub Will Ready Manawatu-Whanganui Region for Growth

The Northern Explorer prepares to leave Auckland, New Zealand, in December 2018. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

A new freight hub near Palmerston North in New Zealand will prepare the Manawatu-Whanganui region for the coming freight growth, KiwiRail’s Acting Chief Executive Todd Moyle said in a news release.

The New Zealand Government is investing NZD$40 million from the Provincial Growth Fund in the project. With the funding, KiwiRail will purchase land for an intermodal rail and road freight hub near Palmerston North, which will be easily accessed by distribution companies and other businesses.

“Palmerston North is already a critical freight distribution point, with goods coming through from the upper North Island, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Wellington, and freight volumes expected to increase significantly in the coming decades,” Moyle said. “To best manage this growth, it’s crucial that we make the most of multiple forms of transport. With an airport nearby and NZTA planning a freight ring road and a replacement road for the Manawatu Gorge, there is a need for a distribution zone near the city. Rail is a vital part of that development.”

Added Moyle: “Building a modern, inter-modal freight hub will mean rail and road can work together to meet the freight demand in central New Zealand, while growing the Manawatu-Whanganui region. …Once the new hub is established, KiwiRail will, over time, move operations from our Palmerston North Freight Yard. The yard was initially established in 1964 on the city outskirts but is now surrounded by urban development. This will allow the land to be used for business and housing, unlocking growth in the region.”

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