Ports of Auckland has started construction of a state-of-the-art inland port at Horotiu, just north of Hamilton.
A contract has been awarded to Fulton Hogan to undertake earthworks to level the site. Work will continue through the summer and construction of a new road-over-rail bridge to connect the site to the existing road network is expected to start in early 2017. The site was blessed by Tainui Kaumatua before work started last week.
The freight hub (or inland port), is ideally located in the heart of the 'Golden Triangle', New Zealand's fastest growing region. It has excellent rail and road connections to New Zealand's two largest ports, the lower North Island, and three of the country's five largest cities. The Waikato Freight Hub will be connected by rail to our existing hubs at Wiri, South Auckland, Mount Maunganui and Longburn, Manawatu.
By creating a network of freight hubs across the North Island and by partnering with Napier Port, we will be able to keep freight costs down and offer access to a wider range of shipping services to North Island exporters and importers. A more efficient supply chain makes our goods more competitive overseas and make imports cheaper: More jobs for New Zealanders and lower costs for consumers.
The first freight handling facilities are expected to be in service by late 2017 or early 2018, once road and rail connections are built. Ports of Auckland has already had significant interest from cargo owners in using the site.
The hub will be built with sustainability in mind and will include features that enhance the local environment. Over four hectares of the 33 hectare site will be planted with natives providing habitat for long-tailed bats, copper skink, morepork/ruru and bell bird/korimako. Improvements to a stream on site may benefit indigenous freshwater species such as koura, long-fin eel and smelt. Where practical the development will include solar power paired with energy storage to provide 24/7 renewable energy, and the hub will use LED lighting and other energy efficient technology.
When fully complete, the freight hub is expected to generate around 300 jobs directly and facilitate many thousands more jobs by acting as an economic catalyst. Ports of Auckland will work with Tainui and other community stakeholders to help ensure that local people benefit directly from the economic development taking place in their area.