Road and rail should work together – KiwiRail boss
THE ESTABLISHMENT BY KIWIRAIL OF A NEW inter-modal freight hub near Palmerston North will mean that “rail and road can work together to meet the freight demand in central New Zealand – while growing the Manawatu-Whanganui region,” says KiwiRail boss Todd Moyle.
KiwiRail will “work with key customers on major infrastructure requirements to encourage freight businesses into the area,” says Moyle – KiwiRail’s acting chief executive.
e Government’s has committed a $40m Provincial Growth Fund investment in the freight hub and Moyle says that it will ready the region “for the coming freight growth.
“Palmerston North is already a critical freight distribution point, with goods coming through from the upper North Island, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay and Wellington, and freight volumes expected to increase signicantly in the coming decades.
“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.”
e PGF funding will see KiwiRail purchase land for the rail/road freight hub in a location easily accessed by distribution companies and other businesses.
Although Moyle is inclusive of road freight’s role in the hub’s planning and operation, he also says: “e Government recognises the important role rail plays in driving sustainable and inclusive growth in NZ. Every tonne of freight carried by rail has 66% fewer carbon emissions than heavy road freight.
“Getting more freight on rail also reduces road congestion and road maintenance costs and improves road safety.”
Once the new hub is established KiwiRail will, over time, move its operations from the present Palmerston North Freight Yard, established 54 years ago…and now surrounded by urban development.