News & insights

Stay informed with the latest news about the Ruakura development.

TGH begins earthworks for Ruakura Inland Port

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Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) the intergenerational investor for Waikato-Tainui will later this week commence foundational earthworks for the first stage of its inland port at Ruakura.

TGH Chief Executive Chris Joblin said it was an exciting milestone after a number of years on the drawing board and in the planning rooms for the overall 480 hectare project on the eastern boundary of Hamilton.

“As a long-term, staged development project likely to span 20-30 years Ruakura will deliver great benefits for the region’s exporters and importers as well as opportunities for Waikato-Tainui people, and has the potential to support 6,000-12,000 jobs within the precinct once fully-built,” Mr Joblin says.

The site was blessed by Kiingi Tuheitia in a tribal ceremony attended by Waikato-Tainui leaders and tribal members on 28 March.

TGH has appointed New Zealand-owned infrastructure company Fulton Hogan as contractor to carry out the initial works covering the first seven hectares of what will eventually be a 31 hectare inland port with the capacity to handle around 1 million TEUs (20 foot container equivalents) per year when fully built.

“Foundational earthworks will involve trucking crushed rock into the site to pre-load the area to be used for the container marshalling yard. It will take around 12 months for the ground to settle before pavement layers, a rail siding, noise wall, screen planting and services can be completed,” Mr Joblin says.

“We are in consultation with a range of potential customers and tenants for the inland port and adjoining logistics hub which will provide ‘port neutrality’ between Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga.”

“The site will have excellent connections to the East Coast Main Trunk Line and to the new Waikato Expressway via a full diamond interchange,” he says.

Fulton Hogan Waikato Regional manager Kerry Watkins said the company was pleased to partner with a project of national significance.

“As we move into the initial works, keeping people safe on the roads and on the site is a top priority,” Mr Watkins says.

“We take the health and safety of our people and communities very seriously. Fulton Hogan has a zero harm policy and a commitment to safe public operations. Together with TGH, we will monitor feedback to ensure safe and courteous truck operations on public roads and seek to minimise impacts on neighbours,” he says.

Extra safety measures will include temporary traffic management warning signs, and speed restrictions.

TGH expects to appoint a world class port operator in mid-2017 following an RFP process currently underway and plans to commence initial operations at the inland port in the first half of 2019.

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TGH appoints new General Manager of Operations

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Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) today announced the appointment of Robert Batters to the role of General Manager Operations.

TGH Chief Executive Chris Joblin says Mr Batters will bring to TGH considerable experience in driving complex, large scale infrastructure and development projects to completion
“Robert’s experience in shepherding major projects to completion will be a great asset for our Ruakura project as the first stage of the inland port gets underway over the coming year, and as the build-out continues over the coming years,” Mr Joblin says.

“His specialist knowledge in the electricity sector will also serve us well as the landowner for a number of significant sites occupied with electricity infrastructure,” Mr Joblin says.
Mr Batters most recent role was as National Delivery Manager – Substations at Transpower NZ in Auckland and he brings a strong working knowledge of the Waikato following an earlier role as the Senior Project Manager for Meridian’s Te Uku Wind Farm in Raglan.

Mr Batters of Ngaa Puhi and Te Roroa descent, says he is excited to bring his experience to Tainui Group Holdings.

“With Ruakura and a number of other regionally and nationally significant projects underway at TGH, I am looking forward to getting involved and playing my part to grow the commercial assets of the Waikato-Tainui people.”

Mr Batters start date with TGH is 20 February.

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TGH Appoints General Manager Ruakura

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Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) today announced the appointment of Blair Morris to the new role of General Manager Ruakura.

TGH Chief Executive Chris Joblin said Mr Morris’ deep experience and understanding of New Zealand’s logistics sector will be invaluable as TGH progresses its plans for an inland port and logistics hub at Ruakura to link the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

“Blair’s appointment is a key step as the region’s premier inland port and logistics hub at Ruakura comes to fruition. He brings decades of experience in understanding and meeting the needs of exporters and importers and the logistics sector,” Mr Joblin said.

For the past four and a half years Mr Morris has been General Manager Commercial at Kotahi Logistics LP, New Zealand’s largest collaboration of exporters, owned by Fonterra and Silver Fern Farms where he provided strategic direction and management of Kotahi’s business growth in New Zealand and Australia including customer solution design and customer experience.

Prior to his role at Kotahi, Mr Morris spent 22 years in the shipping industry, holding a wide variety commercial and trade management roles in Australia and New Zealand. He was General Manager of Hapag-Lloyd New Zealand (a German shipping line headquartered in Hamburg Germany) before relocating to their Singapore Corporate Office where he was Senior Director Region Asia for the business.

Mr Morris said he was looking forward to leading the development of Ruakura which the government has deemed to be a project of national significance.

“This is an exciting opportunity as Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga move ever closer as an economic unit. With the region generating high and growing levels of freight, Ruakura offers a unique opportunity to develop an infrastructure designed for New Zealand’s future needs.”

“I am excited to be part of a strategic infrastructure build and by TGH’s vision for a centrally located logistics hub to drive greater supply chain efficiency, whether for international imports, exports or domestic distribution needs. A real opportunity exists to design for scale as this multi-user development will cater for all parties across the logistics spectrum with best-in-class transport connections to offer stand-out efficiencies for users,” Mr Morris said.

Prospective port operators in New Zealand and overseas have recently submitted formal expressions of interest. A process is now in place to appoint a preferred inland port operator by early 2017. Earthworks are on track to commence on the site in the current construction season and formal marketing commences next year.

Mr Morris’ start date with TGH is Monday 5 December.

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TGH seeks world class port operator for Ruakura Inland Port

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Hamilton, NZ. Tainui Group Holdings (TGH), the developer of a major new inland port to link the golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga in New Zealand’s upper North Island is seeking expressions of interest from a range of world class port operators.

TGH Chief Executive Chris Joblin said that after several years in planning and hearings, Ruakura is cleared for take-off from a zoning and resource consents point of view, and now wants to appoint a port operator to have input to the construction of the port which will get underway later this year.

“TGH is seeking a world class port operator who shares our vision to shake up the freight economics in the upper North Island and change the game from plant-to-port for the region’s rapidly growing importers and exporters as well as increased movement of domestic cargoes,” Mr Joblin says.

The 480 hectare Ruakura development incorporates a 33 hectare inland port and 84 hectare logistics zone in response to a forecast 60% increase in freight volumes in the region by 2042.

Over the past three years all necessary zoning and major resource consents have been secured for the first stage of the inland port and logistics hub.

“Ruakura offers a large-scale, greenfields, fresh start for major exporters, importers and domestic cargo owners. We have ‘designed in’ efficiency from the word go and we are looking for the best operators in the business to help us maintain excellence in every aspect of operations,” he says.

Mr Joblin says key players in the export and imports sector have already approached TGH, attracted by the scale and quality of transport linkages offered by Ruakura. These links include a dedicated full diamond interchange to the new Waikato Expressway, which is currently under construction to shave drive times to and from Auckland, and a proposed four track rail siding at Ruakura for the efficient turnaround of trains to the seaports at Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga.

“Port neutrality – providing the flexibility for importers and exporters to access both seaports so they can get the best deals and manage risks is a key part of the Ruakura proposition,” Mr Joblin says.

Container volumes through the port will initially be relatively modest (targeting annual throughput of 100,000 TEU by year three), however the port will have the capacity to eventually manage more than 1 million container moves a year when it is fully built out in the coming decades.

Mr Joblin says TGH will take into account both business track record and environmental performance when selecting a port operator to be its long-term partner.

“The co-location of importers and exporters at Ruakura will mean fewer and shorter empty container movements which will lower both costs and carbon emissions. Extensive use of rail will take up to 65,000 truck journeys a year off the road once the inland port is in full swing,” he said.

Extensive measures to mitigate light and noise have been factored into Ruakura including more than 50 hectares of open space and extensive native plantings to shield neighbouring suburbs.

The successful Inland Port Operator will have the option to invest in the site infrastructure, including loading and unloading areas adjacent to the planned 4×850 metre fully developed rail siding.

Mr Joblin says the company welcomes approaches from prospective port operators, whether New Zealand or overseas based, who will need to submit their formal expressions of interest by 30 September 2016, allowing plenty of time for site visits and due diligence before this time.

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TGH welcomes resource consents for pivotal Ruakura development

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TGH welcomes resource consents for pivotal Ruakura development

Tainui Group Holdings (TGH), the intergenerational investor for Waikato-Tainui, has welcomed a decision by Hamilton City Council to approve three key resource consents for the planned Ruakura logistics and lifestyle hub.

TGH Chief Executive Chris Joblin says the decision paves the way to start developing the first 13.5 hectare stage of the inland port and surrounding 34.5 hectare logistics zone within the next 12 months.

“We have always approached Ruakura as part of a bigger picture – a new development larger than the Auckland CBD bringing fresh life and jobs to east Hamilton, and as a key hub in the upper North Island freight system,” Mr Joblin says.

“A number of years spent in master planning and talking to customers and the community have helped us future-proof Ruakura with the best connections such as a dedicated interchange with the new Waikato Expressway.”

TGH has already received a number of expressions of interest from leading players in the import, export and logistics sector, although it is yet to commence formal marketing.

“The consistent message from importers and exporters is that they want the freedom to choose between ports and shipping lines and not necessarily be tied into Auckland or Tauranga – they want port neutrality and we have factored this into our thinking as we configure the connections North and East,” Mr Joblin says.

“The efficient hubbing of freight will get thousands of trucks off the roads each year and make better use of the Government’s investment in rail. As Ruakura comes on line over the next five years we see it playing a key role in tackling the congestion in the central, upper North Island and helping all three cities be more productive.”

In the second quarter of this year TGH will call for expressions of interest from port operators to manage the secure gate-in, gate-out inland port eventually capable of handling up to 1 million twenty foot equivalent (TEU) containers per year.

The inland port and logistics zone will anchor the entire 480 hectare site also features the equivalent of more than 52 rugby fields of green and open space, a light commercial knowledge zone and residential housing.

William Durning, Chief Executive of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce says the Ruakura development will turbo-charge the contribution of the wider Waikato region to the New Zealand economy.

“Our region has a number of strong sectors poised to deliver stronger economic activity and jobs over the next 30 years and Ruakura is a cornerstone development to unleash this. Ruakura stands to benefit not just our towns, city and our region, but also the overall New Zealand Inc. story for decades to come,” Mr Durning says.

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