Fon­terra hub will con­nect to port

South Waikato News - - Conversations - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

Work has started at re­open­ing the Pu­taruru Rail yard as part of Fon­terra’s multi-mil­lion dol­lar ex­pan­sion.

Ki­wirail is work­ing to­gether with Fon­terra to sup­port the Lich­field up­grade.

Fon­terra spokesper­son Abby Wat­son said the rail yard will be used as a hub to con­nect the plant with the Port of Tau­ranga.

‘‘Mov­ing prod­uct to and from Lich­field by rail will re­duce the num­ber of truck move­ments through Pu­taruru mean­ing less overall im­pact on the town.’’

The up­grade means an ad­di­tional 100,000 tonnes of dairy prod­ucts per year will be moved with lit­tle en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, she said.

Ki­wirail spokesper­son Si­mon Kil­roy said feed­back was pos­i­tive when a com­mu­nity meet­ing was held in March.

How­ever a few con­cerns from lo­cals were raised about the im­pact noise and traf­fic con­ges­tion would have dur­ing shunt­ing times.

Kil­roy said plans are still be­ing fi­nalised and timeta­bles will be linked to de­mand.

‘‘As a com­mer­cial en­tity we wish to in­crease the amount of freight car­ried by rail and thereby in­crease rev­enue.’’

Use of the yard will bring an ad­di­tional train in and out of Pu­taruru and plans are sub­ject to change based on Fon­terra’s re­quire­ments.

‘‘De­pend­ing on the vol­ume of goods Ki­wirail is re­quested to move by Fon­terra will vary on the sea­son,’’ he said.

It is in­tended there will be a max­i­mum of four shunts per day run­ning be­tween Pu­taruru and the Lich­field plant.

‘‘For safety there will be in­creased use of train horns and warn­ing bells at cross­ings but we ex­pect the noise im­pact to be min­i­mal.

The re­open­ing of the yard will in­clude track up­grades, new se­cu­rity fenc­ing, an up­grade of the light­ing sys­tem and se­cu­rity cam­eras.

To meet Cus­toms NZ re­quire­ments pedes­tri­ans will no longer be able to walk across the yard.

Wat­son said Fon­terra is com­mit­ted to work­ing with the Pu­taruru com­mu­nity to en­sure the change causes as lit­tle dis­rup­tion as pos­si­ble.

The project is ex­pected to be fin­ished by July.

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