The Regional Freight Hub near Palmerston North has taken a step forward with the completion of the master plan, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said.
Shane Jones unveiled the high-level design of the new Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) backed rail-road hub in Palmerston North today.
“Getting rail back on track requires investment across the full range of rail infrastructure. This project will be a major development for freight distribution across the lower North Island,” Shane Jones said.
“Freight volumes are forecast to increase by more than 50 per cent in the decades ahead. Hubs like these are needed to ensure rail can play a key role in handling this increase, so as to minimise transport emissions and avoid increased congestion from more heavy trucks on our regional roads.
“It will allow for greater use of rail across the lower North Island, efficiently link rail and road freight together, and create a focal point that will help draw more distribution businesses to the Manawatū.
“Goods come into Palmerston North from all four directions and it is already a well-known logistics centre of expertise. This project is about building on that, with Palmerston North City Council, Horizons and KiwiRail aligning their thinking and working together to create jobs and grow the regional economy,” Shane Jones said.
The hub design, spread over three kilometres, would include a log yard, container terminal, freight-forwarding facilities and KiwiRail’s train operations and maintenance depot.
KiwiRail is currently considering potential site options for the freight hub and will run public consultation before making a final decision.
The PGF’s $40 million investment will also enable KiwiRail to buy the required land and have it designated for rail use.