Freight Rail

New intermodal terminal opens at Lyttelton

Rail track. Photo: Shutterstock

Ian Ackerman 

Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) has a new ‘inland port’ called MidlandPort, located in Rolleston, about 30 kilometres west of Lyttelton.

Officially opened last week by MP for the local district Selwyn, Amy Adams, MidlandPort began operations in June.

Facilities include a rail siding able to hold two 60-TEU trains, a full container yard, an empty container depot, capacity for up to 168 reefer plugs and a customs-controlled area and a Ministry for Primary Industries transitional facility.

LPC chairman Trevor Burt said the container freight rail route between Rolleston and Lyttelton Port would provide the most comprehensive shipping service in the South Island.

“MidlandPort is providing unprecedented connectivity throughout the South Island for shippers in our region, giving access to the eight shipping services and 14 shipping lines that come to Lyttelton,” he said.

“MidlandPort saves a journey to Lyttelton for customers; import containers can be picked up here and export containers dropped off. It reduces empty container movements and saves time and money.”

Burt continued, saying the inland port would improve travel time for freight transport and help reduce road congestion.

“Each round-trip rail service takes up to 80 truck trips off our roads,” he said.

“Our rail siding handles 30-wagon trains. We currently operate one train trip a day, but this will increase as demand grows.”

Trade is increasing in New Zealand’s South Island and Mr Burt said the size of vessels calling at Lyttelton is likely to rise.

“We must be ready to accommodate bigger ships that will carry more cargo and we will need a deeper shipping channel in Lyttelton harbour so they have access,” he said.

“We have had a 50% increase in container volumes in the last five years. We handle in excess of half the South Island’s container volume, including more than 70% of imports.

“Lyttelton Port is the gateway for trade to the South Island – and now we have MidlandPort which provides our exporters and importers with a new, more efficient gateway to the world.”

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