New Zealand’s ports reshaping logisticsSeptember 27, 2017 / By
The Ruakura inland port in Hamilton will reshape the supply-chain for logistics operators in New Zealand, creating a host of new opportunities for occupiers in this sector. Ruakura has been recognised as a project of national significance by the New Zealand government and will bring a range of economic and social benefits to the wider Waikato region.
Hamilton is the third largest city in New Zealand’s North Island, located some 125 kilometres south of Auckland. The city forms the southern point of New Zealand’s ‘Golden Triangle’, a geographic node which encompasses Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton. It is responsible for approximately 50 per cent of the country’s economic output and is home to half of our total population.
In New Zealand, more than 90 per cent of freight is transported by road, with 42 per cent of total freight by tonnage being moved within the Golden Triangle. There is likely to be an increase in freight over the next 25 years in response to population growth. At present, the population of the Golden Triangle sits at approximately 2.47 million. This is forecast to grow to 3.24 million by 2043, a growth of 31 per cent. This will create unprecedented demand for freight handling facilities in the region.
Inland option for containers will be a game changer
Given the constraints that exist at the two main sea ports – the Port of Auckland and Port of Tauranga – having an inland option for container handling will help to ease capacity issues. The Hamilton location will provide the opportunity for industrial and logistics operators to relocate to a more cost effective business location with access to a growing and highly educated workforce.
In 2019, Stage 1 of the 31.5 hectare inland port will reach completion. It will be operated in a joint venture between LINX Cargo Care Group subsidiary C3 and Tainui Group, the owners of the Ruakura development. The inland port will be adjoined by 60 hectares of logistics zoned land suitable for large scale occupiers. When fully operational, the development will have the capacity to process one million TEU’s per year (equivalent 20-foot shipping containers). At present, the two nearest sea ports at Auckland and Tauranga, process approximately two million TEU per year.
The Ruakura inland port will be a game changer for the Hamilton region and other areas of the upper North Island by providing genuine scale and efficiency for importers and exporters to move cargo in a timely, cost effective manner. The introduction of a rail siding will allow many of the containers to be transported by rail, taking congestion off the roading network. For those moving freight by road, the Ruakura development will link into the Waikato expressway, which will dissect the development and link to both the Tauranga and Auckland Ports, effectively making it port neutral. This will give cargo owners greater supply chain resiliency and choice between the two major sea ports.
While inland ports are not a new concept in New Zealand, Ruakura will be critical in providing capacity to a congested market, supporting economic growth in the upper North Island. Ruakura presents an opportunity for logistics operators to set up adjoining container terminals which are likely to provide cost saving efficiencies whether they choose to move freight via road or rail.