KiwiRail have announced the preferred location for the Regional Freight Hub near Palmerston North.
The intermodal Hub will be located between Palmerston North Airport and Bunnythorpe and occupy a 2.5km long site. The length of the site will allow it to accommodate 1.5km long trains, much longer than what is now possible on the KiwiRail network.
Designs are currently being finalised and KiwiRail hopes to have the land designated for rail use from September 2020. When complete, the site will be a focus point for freight in the central and lower North Island, said KiwiRail group chief executive Greg Miller.
“It will be New Zealand’s first, truly world-class supply chain logistics precinct – including capacity for a log yard, bulk goods silo, container terminal (including free trade zone capability for exports), significant warehousing for freight partners, and KiwiRail’s operations.”
Due to the efficiencies provided by the Hub, the site will help remove trucks from roads in the region.
“Integrating all of these services, on this scale, creates efficiencies and cost savings that will set the standard for New Zealand logistics and support the growth of Palmerston North as a distribution centre well into the future,” said Miller.
“The Hub is designed to enable our trains and heavy trucks to work efficiently together, while helping to get trucks out of already congested parts of Palmerston North city.”
Public consultations are now beginning and KiwiRail has been in contact with affected landowners. Miller will be leading public meetings in and around Palmerston North in the coming weeks.
The Regional Freight Hub has been financed through a $40 million investment from the NZ government’s Provincial Growth Fund.
“The Regional Freight Hub is designed to meet the freight needs of the Manawatu and the surrounding regions for the next 100 years. Announcing the preferred site is a major milestone in this important regional project,” said Miller.