Coda Group, the freight logistics joint venture formed last year by Ports of Tauranga and Kotahi, has completed the rail link into its Auckland freight hub.
Coda chief executive Scott Brownlee said the Coda intermodal freight hub would provide a consolidation point to bring together export, import and domestic cargo flows into one single location. The intermodal hub is in Savill Drive, Otahuhu, and the new line connects to the Metroport rail link in Onehunga.
"Achieving rail connectivity at Savill Drive is a key milestone in the development of a more efficient transport network for the North Island," said Mr Brownlee.
"Traditionally separate, these three flows of cargo will now come together for the first time in one place and link to multiple transport modes including road, rail and coastal shipping. The intermodal freight hub and supporting network also increases the landside logistics capability required to service larger ships that will soon visit New Zealand."
Coda said the access to rail was possible with the development of a new 10,000sq m intermodal yard. Work would soon start on a 4950sq m warehouse extension and a 6500sq m freight canopy with a second rail siding.
KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said Coda was an example of a logistics business working to better utilise New Zealand's transport and infrastructure assets.
"We are pleased to partner with Coda as they invest in assets and collaborative partnerships which support the growth of New Zealand businesses, and in turn this brings significant benefits to the country," he said.
Coda had also introduced its own range of intermodal 25-foot curtain-sided containers to meet customer requirements.
Mr Brownlee said the expansion would more than triple the capacity of the existing Coda rail offering between Auckland and Palmerston North, providing further opportunities for lower North Island exporters to access Port of Tauranga and Ports of Auckland. The intermodal containers took imported and domestic freight southbound, Auckland to Palmerston North on the main trunk line, and were then loaded with exports northbound to create a fully utilised rail loop.
Mr Brownlee said the new logistics operations provided for better matching of freight flows up and down the North Island.
The Auckland hub would be fully operational by December 2016.
Coda rail link:
* By 2017, Coda estimates its intermodal freight hub will consolidate and move by rail the equivalent of 8000 heavy vehicle trips of cargo annually.
* Kotahi - Port of Tauranga's joint venture partner in Coda - is owned by Fonterra and Silver Fern Farms.