Freight Rail

Expanded rail service to help earthquake-stricken lower South Island

Ian Ackerman – Sydney

Ports of Auckland and KiwiRail are teaming up to provide a daily rail link between the Auckland seaport and inland ports at Wiri, South Auckland and Longburn, Manawatu (near Palmerston North).

This initiative is to increase freight capacity between Auckland and the lower North Island and help importers and exporters who are affected by the closure of Wellington’s CentrePort after Monday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Ports of Auckland has the capacity to accommodate additional container volume, and two inland hubs are well-positioned to facilitate cargo distribution to the lower North island.

Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson said: “We are pleased to be able to put on this service to fill the gap created as a result of the recent Kaikoura earthquake, and we will keep it running until CentrePort is able to get back on their feet.”

In the meantime, CentrePort is still picking up the pieces after the earthquake.

Some services are operating at the port, but infrastructure assessments are ongoing.

In a sign that the port is returning to normal, a cruise ship is scheduled to call on Monday.

CentrePort chief executive Derek Nind said the cruise berth was declared fit for operation.

We’re looking forward to welcoming passengers and crew of the 219-metre long Pacific Aria to our Harbourside Capital,” he said.

“Cruise ships make a significant contribution to the regional economy, making the visit particularly welcome at this time.”

This story originally appeared on Rail Express affiliate site Lloyd’s List Australia.