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.