KiwiRail Network expects to remove about 5½ thousand trucks off the road per annum once the Napier-Wairoa line gets up and running over the next week.

But the general manager said this won't affect truck drivers already transporting logs to the Napier Port.

Trains will begin running the full distance on the line from Napier to Wairoa for the first time in six years from next week.

KiwiRail estimated every tonne of freight carried by rail is a 66 per cent emissions saving over heavy road freight.


Group General Manager Sales and Commercial Alan Piper, said although he sensed some worry over losses for truck drivers, there was no need for concern.

"I wouldn't call this a win or lose situation, it's about how we work together for a win-win," he said.

"It's about what works best with road and rail, so that's the approach we're taking. New Zealand has a massive increase in harvestable wood volumes that is going to hit the country in the next 15 to 20 years. The country has got a severe lack of people able to drive trucks - there's essentially a driving shortage."

Piper said KiwiRail were working alongside those in the forestry industry to build effective working relationships, communication strategies and even job opportunities.

"We're working with people from the driving sector and all those harvesting the forests to get the volumes through to the ports for export."

"We see the hubs playing a pretty important role to support the roading guys to get the best use of their roading fleets to and from where the logs are being harvested."

Piper said he didn't just want it to be a "win" situation for KiwiRail, but for everyone in the forestry sector, drivers and local communities.

"We've been engaging with the forest owners in terms of what we want to achieve, not only in Hawke's Bay and Wairoa, but across the entire country."

"We've been asking how it would be for them to run trucks to and from the Wairoa hub throughout the day, and then maybe through the weekend helping to lift some of those heavy volumes at the port onto the ships."

KiwiRail were planning to run two train services a day over weekends, but due to increasing forestry capacity, the services were also likely to increase.

"We're planning to run up to four services a weekend. So two on a Saturday and two on a Sunday - that's about 100 trains a year, and that will grow as the harvest increases."

"The first train has already made its way all the way to Wairoa, residents over there can expect us to develop the log hub terminal over the next 3-4 months, we'll be getting it ready for log acceptance."

Piper said once the network was up and running, there would be potential for job openings in Wairoa.

"We will be shedding up the infrastructure (in the yards) in the coming months. Someone is going to have to be in there to meet the trucks to assist transporting the logs from the trucks to the trains so they can be taken to the port," he said.