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Depots funded to take logs off roads

Lower North Island log depots funded to take logs off roads

A proposal to set up log depots in the lower North Island enabling logs to be transferred by rail to Wellington for export has been given funding assistance by Transfund New Zealand.

The proposal, put forward by Greater Wellington Regional Council, comprises setting up of log depots near Masterton, Marton and Wanganui, allowing the transfer from road to rail freight to Centreport in Wellington.

Greater Wellington Regional Council says the project is expected to be commercially viable in three years.

Transfund approved funding of up to $3 per tonne of logs carted in the first year of operation, $2 per tonne in the second year of operation and $1 per tonne for the third year of operation. After this time, Transfund’s financial contribution will cease.

Transfund chair Dr Jan Wright says the decision to fund this activity, of up to a maximum of $2 million over the three years, would mean fewer logging trucks on busy state highways such as the Rimutaka Hill Road.

Fewer logging trucks on roads will mean increased safety and reduced maintenance costs, she says.

“Log harvest in the lower North Island is expected to double from the current one million cubic metres over the next five years, and to treble to three million cubic metres by the mid 2020s.

“This is a big increase and without the use of rail would lead to a big increase in the number of logging trucks over the next 20 years,” Dr Wright says.

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