Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Freight Rail, Intermodal Hubs

New intermodal terminal for New Zealand

The intermodal Fairfield Freight Hub was officially opened at an event attended by Transport Minister Simeon Brown, Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown and senior managers from the Wareing Group and KiwiRail.

KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy said the hub is great news for KiwiRail and the Ashburton area.

“Mid Canterbury is a base for moving significant container volumes to South Island ports and around New Zealand, whether it’s grain, seed, horticultural produce or meat,” he said.

“However, our existing container terminal in central Ashburton was too small to meet today’s freight demand.

“Working with the Wareing Group to move operations to Fairfield, and with support from the Ashburton District Council and central Government, we will increase the amount of local freight carried by rail from 6,000 containers to 20,000 containers a year.

“That’s half a million tonnes of freight off the region’s roads – the equivalent of 40,000 truck movements – which helps manage road maintenance costs.

“And given rail offers 70 per cent fewer emissions compared to heavy road freight, it’s a substantial reduction in transport emissions.

“Inter-modal hubs like the Fairfield Freight Hub make use of both road and rail transport – enabling trucks to complete the first and last mile of collection and delivery, and for rail to do the heavy longer-distance movements. It highlights how road and rail can work efficiently together, which delivers wider benefits for the community.”

Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown said the hub had a number of benefits for Mid Canterbury.

“Significantly reducing shunting in the centre of town means locals aren’t stuck at level crossings anymore while wagons are connected or disconnected.

“The new rail hub at Fairton sits alongside our business estate and it’s perfectly placed for those industries sending product to the North Island or to ports and overseas markets.

“It’s been a great collaboration and will be an asset for our district.”

Wareing Group director Mark Wareing says the Fairfield Freight Hub will streamline freight volumes in and out of Mid-Canterbury and at the same time reduce the impact of trucks on road.

“It’s setting the region up for a lower carbon future and the location near the Northpark Industrial Park is ideally located to take advantage of this new hub,” he said.

“Helping exporters and freight partners move more freight by rail makes sense both from a business and sustainability perspective and will help stabilise the supply chain issues our clients and their customers are facing.”

The Fairfield Freight Hub development cost $14 million. It included some funding from the Ashburton District Council and Government.

Rail operations to and from the hub started on 8 April. For more information about rail movement changes and rail safety around Ashburton follow the link.