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Exciting growth in Taranaki cargo volumes

Exciting growth in Taranaki cargo volumes

Auckland, New Zealand - Tranz Rail Holdings Limited [NZSE: TRH]. Exciting growth in Taranaki cargo volumes, improved rail services and a proactive management approach from both Westgate Port Taranaki and Tranz Rail, has seen business blossom for both companies.

The boom in cargo growth through Westgate Port Taranaki, and rail's advantage in setting up short-haul shuttles from dairy plant to wharf, has created a top-quality logistics link between the two companies.

Westgate has moved ahead rapidly with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) operating through the port, particularly since additional calls were added by Maersk Sealand. As a result, up to 90% of local dairy powder production is now moving through the port.

Dairy and meat are the main Taranaki industries serviced by Tranz Rail. Major customers include the shipping companies, the NZMP plant at Whareroa (Hawera), Pastoral Foods at Eltham and Lactose at Kapuni.

Tranz Rail Key Account Executive Ron Armstrong says the relationship between the rail and port has never been stronger.

"We certainly appreciate the 'open door' approach of Westgate's management, and find it very easy to progress initiatives with them," he says.

Tranz Rail has three daily inbound and outbound train services to Taranaki from Auckland, Tauranga and Palmerston North, with Palmerston North trains also conveying Napier and Wellington and South Island container cargoes.

"In addition we have three 'intra-Taranaki' shuttle services running between Westgate and Whareroa. These supply empty containers to the Taranaki customer base and then return to Westgate with loaded export containers.

"More recently, Tranz Rail has secured Maersk Sealand imports coming through Westgate for distribution by rail to Auckland and Wellington," says Ron Armstrong.

In addition to the growing volume of north-south import and export traffic, Mr Armstrong predicts that there will be significant future development in east-west volumes through Westgate.

Furthermore, he says Tranz Rail is currently reviewing the services it offers via Taranaki. "Between Westgate, the dairy industry, Maersk Sealand and Tranz Rail, we are looking at providing more regular fixed-consist services to the customer base. We are working hard to develop the region and attract more business to rail.

"For one example, we are now establishing a service into Whareroa from Westgate at three-hourly intervals. Consequently, we are now looking at four shuttle services, each with the capacity of 30 wagons, arriving at regular intervals.

"It is basically about providing a more flexible and reliable service, and Westgate has been instrumental in helping us achieve that."

Westgate Operations Manager Ray Barlow confirms the relationship between the port and Tranz Rail is excellent.

"We looked at the changed circumstances with the commencement of our new shipping services, particularly the Maersk Sealand services, and our need was for reliable, frequent shuttles to bring in dairy product from Whareroa.

"The factory at Hawera is primarily set up for rail load out, whilst the port can receive into its container terminal, dairy stores and cold stores by rail or road as the customer requires.

"Tranz Rail were quick to realise that the shuttles gave them excellent wagon utilisation, as the wagons are full of loaded containers into the port and then full of empty containers being repositioned back to the plant. "It was a win/win situation for both Westgate and Tranz Rail and we have found we work really well together, including examining ways in which the service can be improved still further. We are certainly committed to continuing this relationship."

The port operation at Westgate is complemented by the work done at the New Plymouth marshalling yards in Upper Smart Road.

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