Construction begins on Inland Port rail exchange
09 June 2009
For immediate release
Construction begins on Wiri Inland Port rail exchange
Work officially started today on construction of a rail exchange at Ports of Auckland’s Wiri Inland Port in South Auckland.
Jointly funded by KiwiRail and Ports of Auckland, the exchange will connect the 15 hectare Wiri Inland Port with the national rail network and provide a direct link to the Waitemata seaport.
Once fully operational, the rail link is forecast to eventually save up to 2.5 million truck kilometres per year – the equivalent of 100,000 truck trips.
Speaking at a sod-turning ceremony to mark the start of work on the project, KiwiRail Chairman Jim Bolger said the Wiri rail link was an important step towards creating a smarter and leaner national supply chain.
“Wiri is ideally placed as an inter-modal hub and will play a vital role in the upper North Island supply chain,” Mr Bolger said.
“The net effect when containers are loaded and unloaded off rail wagons will be to create an effective multi-modal hub that reduces traffic congestion in central Auckland.
“One of our priorities is to connect industries and processing plants to railway lines so that goods can be moved by rail.
“Our aim is to contribute to the New Zealand economy by taking advantage of rail’s natural strengths. In a nutshell these are moving bulky goods, linking export industries to major ports and moving people through congested cities.”
Mr Bolger said that approximately 75 percent of the traffic that goes through Ports of Auckland goes to or comes from South Auckland.
“Clearly, when Wiri is so close to the North Island Main Trunk line, it makes sense to connect it to the rail network,” he said.
Ports of Auckland Managing Director Jens Madsen said the rail connection to the Wiri Inland Port would create a lean, green option for businesses looking to optimise their supply chain.
“The addition of a rail link to the Wiri Inland Port represents an important step for Ports of Auckland as we aim to become a ‘super port for a super city’, serving the greater Auckland region and New Zealand,” Mr Madsen said.
Mr Madsen said Ports of Auckland saw a bright future for Wiri as a ‘freight hub’ – a staging post that will link the South Auckland with the Waikato and with the Port of Auckland on the Waitemata Harbour.
“We look forward to working with KiwiRail and road operators to develop Wiri into an inter-modal freight hub.
“One of our aims is to get a better balance of full and empty containers running between Wiri and the seaport, taking waste out of the supply chain and increasing productivity.
“Wiri also gives Ports of Auckland more capacity, and adds to our ability to build further scale, in an environmentally low-impact way.”
Mr Madsen said Ports of Auckland was delighted to be investing in South Auckland.
“Manukau is New Zealand’s industrial and manufacturing heartland and one of New Zealand’s fastest growing areas. It’s vital that Manukau and the region have the infrastructure in place to cater for this growth.”
The Wiri Inland Port is strategically located off Wiri Station Road in South Auckland, close to Auckland International Airport, and adjacent to SH1 and SH20.
Brian Perry Civil has been confirmed as the contracting firm that will build the rail link. The works involve construction of three rail sidings, each capable of taking 22 wagons, a 450m long hardstand (heavy duty pavement) and around 2,000m of track. Construction is due to be completed by the end of the year.
The 5ha of land the rail exchange is on is owned by KiwiRail. Ports of Auckland owns and operates the adjacent 10ha inland port, which is currently serviced by trucks.