First goods trains arrive at Ruakura

In News3 MinutesBy GeorgiAugust 4, 2023

The first goods trains have arrived at Ruakura Inland Port – the newly minted, 9ha customs-controlled cargo facility on Hamilton’s eastern boundary.

The new $60m facility has been more than 15 years in development by Tainui Group Holdings, the commercial entity of Waikato-Tainui, and will be operated in a joint-venture with Port of Tauranga – for an initial period of 50 years.

The first train arrived from Tauranga Thursday morning, followed by a train from Auckland.

Tainui Group Holdings Chief Executive Chris Joblin said the milestone marked an exciting new opportunity for importers and exporters, especially in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions.

“This is a big step towards reducing carbon emissions from the Upper North Island supply chain. It gives importers and exporters the option to move away from the previously ubiquitous round-trip, road-based journeys, towards more rail-based one-way movements for cargoes,” he said.

Recent modelling commissioned by the JV from independent supply chain experts has confirmed potential cost savings of up to 30% for cargo owners using rail from Ruakura Inland Port – compared to the round-trip, road-served transport model from Hamilton to Tauranga and Auckland.

Initially, two trains a week, each capable of carrying around 90 containers will call at Ruakura Inland Port as the inland port undergoes final commissioning during August. Train calls will then be increased to match demand. KiwiRail operates more than 85 train services per week between MetroPort Auckland and Tauranga which pass through Ruakura.

This year will also see the opening of other large-scale businesses at the adjacent Ruakura Superhub. These include the 40,000m2 Kmart Distribution Centre, and new cold storage facilities operated by global player Maersk (16,000m2) and Big Chill (13,000m2), which will generate freight through the inland port.

Leonard Sampson, Chief executive of Port of Tauranga said partnering with TGH to operate the inland port has delivered strategic infrastructure that will amplify the connectivity of the Port’s existing facilities.

“By combining Port of Tauranga’s expertise in developing and operating ports, with the deep regional connections of TGH, and the scale and efficiency of the Ruakura location we can deliver more value for our regions and customers,”