NEW Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has talked of the importance of freight in that country’s decision to ramp up its rail spending.

KiwiRail is to begin getting more than 100 new locomotives and 900 new container wagons, replacing and repurposing old and outdated stock, as part of the “Wellbeing Budget’s” NZ$1bn investment in ensuring New Zealand has a reliable and sustainable rail network.

Mr Peters said after too many years of decline, it was time rail got back on track.

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“We’re addressing the last three decades of under-investment in our rail system, and enabling growth that will ensure rail is sustainable,” he said.

“Part of the funding package will go towards replacing the tired and worn-out 50-year-old locomotives in the South Island. We’ve kick-started the replacement process for more than 100 locomotives. New locomotives mean more reliable services and less maintenance costs.

“In addition, 900 flat-top container wagons will be replaced with new, larger ones in our busiest corridors, giving KiwiRail a more competitive freight service,” Mr Peters said.

Finance minister Grant Robertson said the Wellbeing Budget provided opportunities to grow and modernise New Zealand’s economy.

“Rail has huge benefits for New Zealanders’ wellbeing, including unlocking regional economic growth, reducing emissions and congestion, and preventing deaths and injuries,” he said.

More information about New Zealand transport and logistics issues will be available in the July print edition of Daily Cargo News.

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