PORT Marlborough and CentrePort have joined forces to provide an end-to-end logistics supply chain connecting exporters in the northern South Island directly to the world.

The ports have entered into a formal agreement that creates a new freight link between exporters in Marlborough and international markets.

The initiative provides a cargo hub and freight movement via road and rail to coastal and international shipping.

An inland cargo hub will be established at the Riverlands site near Blenheim, 34 kilometres to Picton via State Highway 1.

The hub, to be developed over the next 18-24 months for cargo aggregation, links to Port Marlborough by State Highway 1 and rail.

Port Marlborough CEO Rhys Welbourn said there will be major benefits for Marlborough exporters and importers and the region’s community and economy.

“We have collectively been working with shippers who want a reliable, resilient, and competitive supply chain which is what this partnership will deliver,” Mr Welbourn said.

“It creates improved access and options for shippers for an end-to-end export service with the cargo aggregation hub at Riverlands connecting them to coastal and international shipping at competitive rates. That will help local businesses grow, benefitting the region’s and New Zealand’s economy.”


CentrePort CEO Anthony Delaney said the partnership has significant environmental and resilience benefits as well.

“The proximity of the Riverlands hub to exporters and the direct link via State Highway 1 with the potential for a rail connection, will provide a lower carbon option compared to other supply chain routes,” Mr Delaney said.

“CentrePort’s supply chain infrastructure already includes a range of carbon reduction initiatives including fully electric container movement vehicles on port. Hydrogen is part of future plans. We have invested in infrastructure resilience and capacity enhancement which can also benefit shippers in the upper South Island.”

Mr Welbourn and Mr Delaney said the partnership had wider benefits for the New Zealand logistics supply chain.

They said it would help increase efficiency by enabling empty containers to be efficiently distributed to key exporter locations. It also supports coastal shipping which the government identifies as important for strengthening and diversifying the supply chain.

Marlborough District Council mayor John Leggett welcomed the announcement.

“This is a fantastic new development for Marlborough that will streamline our export supply chain. Marlborough accounts for 86% of New Zealand’s wine exports and also exports large volumes of high-quality food produce,” Mr Leggett said.

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) chair Daran Ponter said the partnership would be a boost for the central New Zealand economy.

“This initiative enhances resilience and certainty for exporters which is welcome in these challenging times, and will also grow cargo throughput for the ports, including CentrePort of which GWRC is majority shareholder,” Mr Ponter said.

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said the new partnership between the ports would build on infrastructure in place at Riverlands and will be used by the region’s wine producers.

“Alongside this, the commercial and environmental benefits from increased two-way freight services are very important to our industry,” Mr Pickens said.