A new weekday rail service between Auckland and Christchurch is being launched to help New Zealand businesses grappling with disrupted ports and shipping lines.
KiwiRail’s NZ Connect service will boost capacity and connections for moving domestic freight between the North and South Islands in time for peak season.
KiwiRail Group chief executive Greg Miller said the country’s busiest period for freight was from October through to March, a time when businesses look to restock ahead of Christmas and New Year when demand for products increases, and exports rise.
“Many businesses are still feeling the ongoing impacts of COVID on the global supply chain and experiencing delays on imported goods. Shipping lines continue to struggle to offer certainty of capacity and delivery for the movement of freight between the islands,” he said.
“KiwiRail has identified this gap in the market so is stepping up to relieve some of these pressures by offering a faster and more certain domestic service than currently is available from shipping lines alone.
“From early October, NZ Connect will depart Auckland daily Monday to Friday and connect with our Interislander ferries before continuing to Christchurch.
“Using 60-foot wagons, it will provide up to 300 TEU (20-foot equivalent container units) of additional weekly capacity, alongside the weekly services we already offer.
“No company is more Kiwi than KiwiRail and this new service is part of our commitment to keep New Zealand moving, as we are during Alert Level 4, running freight trains across the country to keep New Zealand businesses and families supplied.
“Congestion in New Zealand’s supply route between Auckland and Christchurch will continue for the foreseeable future until global shipping capacity and reliability return. In the meantime our teams are working hard for our customers.”