Freight Rail

KiwiRail to build intermodal freight hub in Palmerston North

New Zealand rail operator KiwiRail is developing plans for an inland freight hub in the Manawatu-Whanganui region, following the government’s allocation of $40 million for the project.

The government’s investment, part of its Provincial Growth Fund, will see KiwiRail purchase land for an intermodal rail and road freight hub near Palmerston North.

KiwiRail will relocate its operations from its Palmerston North Fright Yard to the new hub following its completion.

Palmerston North is already a critical freight distribution point for goods coming from the upper North Island, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Wellington.

KiwiRail’s acting chief executive Todd Moyle said that freight volumes were expected to increase significantly over 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,” Moyle said.

“Every tonne of freight carried by rail has 66 per cent fewer carbon emissions than heavy road freight. Getting more freight on rail also reduces road congestion and road maintenance costs and improves road safety.”

Moyle said that the inter-modal freight hub would better enable the rail and road freight networks to meet rising freight demand in central New Zealand.

“KiwiRail is now beginning detailed plans for the freight hub, which will include identifying potential sites and seeking resource consent to designate land for rail use,” he said.

“We will work with key customers on major infrastructure requirements to encourage freight businesses into the area.”