Moving port will cost government, consumers and environment says NRC

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 13, 2019

Making Northport Auckland‘s main port will require massive investment in rail and road and will increase carbon emissions and the cost of goods, says National Road Carriers Association CEO David Aitken.

Aitken was responding to news reports that the final report of a working group led by Whangarei mayor Wayne Brown recommends the Ports of Auckland be moved to Northland. If it goes ahead, it will reportedly be the largest infrastructure project in New Zealand history, costing $10 billion.

“Although it would be good for road freight as they would get a lot more work and travel a lot more miles, it doesn‘t make sense,” says Aitken.

“Where else in the world has a port for a country‘s largest city been moved 140km away from its main market? This will increase freight costs, which will inevitably be passed on to consumers.”

Rail will only be able to carry a small portion of the freight, says Aitken. Road will carry most freight based on the current volumes going through Ports of Auckland.

Aitken says any relocation of Ports of Auckland‘s functions to Northport needs to be based on sound economic analysis and proper costings of all the infrastructure improvements needed including:

  • Ports – Northport development and decommissioning Ports of Auckland

  • Rail, including a freight line from Whangarei through Auckland to service the lower North Island, and

  • Roading, four lanes, some through difficult terrain.

Aitken says Northport should build and compete on its own merit.