PORT of Tauranga announced a long-term partnership with the TGH subsidiary Port Ruakura LP to support the development of the Ruakura Inland Port at Hamilton in the Waikato region.

The agreement will allow Port of Tauranga’s cargo trains to run between MetroPort Auckland and Tauranga to service Ruakura Inland Port.

This will give Waikato-based importers and exporters direct access to the international shipping services that call at Tauranga.

The agreement provides Port of Tauranga with priority rail slots at the Ruakura facility for an initial term of 30 years. Port Ruakura LP will provide the necessary infrastructure, including a rail siding, hardstand and cargo storage areas.

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Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said the planned inland port would offer significant cargo-handling capacity and scope to meet future needs.

The 480-hectare Ruakura estate has 192 hectares earmarked for logistics and industrial uses including the planned 30-hectare inland port.

“The Ruakura development will provide a highly efficient rail hub in the Waikato by utilising our existing train services linking our MetroPort Auckland inland freight hub with Port of Tauranga, which is New Zealand’s international hub port and the main cargo gateway for the upper North Island,” he said.

“It’s an excellent example of Port of Tauranga’s partnership approach to providing supply chain infrastructure beyond our Bay of Plenty hinterland.”

Tainui Group Holdings chief executive Chris Joblin welcomed the long-term partnership on behalf of Port Ruakura LP.

“This initial 30-year agreement with Port of Tauranga is a key step towards fulfilling our vision for Ruakura to unlock the golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga for importers and exporters,” he said.

“The agreement will see Port of Tauranga trains initially call at Ruakura four times daily and this is likely to grow. This service will underpin the significant supply chain savings we have been modelling with prospective customers and tenants of Ruakura.”

Port of Tauranga’s partner KiwiRail operates up to 86 trains per week between MetroPort Auckland and Tauranga, carrying up to 9000 TEU.

The route currently has unused capacity and the additional service stop will improve utilisation and reduce the number of trucks on roads.

Development of the Ruakura Inland Port is scheduled to follow the completion of an adjacent Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway currently expected to be late 2021.

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