KiwiRail announced that the designation has been confirmed for Palmerston North freight hub, its regional freight hub to be constructed on a 177-hectare area in the northern edge of the city.
The rail-road terminal is an important part of the Te Utanganui multi modal distribution hub in the lower North Island of New Zealand, consisting of rail, road, air, and sea connections.
Te Utanganui is already home to major distribution warehouses and development of the KiwiRail rail hub is expected to further increase the desirability of businesses locating within the area.
KiwiRail received a NZD 40 million (USD 23.6 million) funding through the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund in 2018, which has allowed us to get to this stage.
“We have completed the high-level design (Master Plan) of the Hub, begun purchasing land for it and now had it’s footprint designated for rail use. Palmerston North is already a major logistics centre for central New Zealand, and Te Utanganui is aimed at taking that to the next level,” Executive General Manager Property Anna Allen said.
“Our Regional Freight Hub will make sure rail is a part of that growth, and that growing freight movements in the decades ahead benefit from the low transport emissions train’s offer.”
KiwiRail is currently working on an investment case to build the hub in stages over the coming decades and is expected that the works for the first phase will start in 2027. Work is expected to begin at the southern end of the site, near Palmerston North Airport.
The Palmerston North freight hub is a national strategic location, with domestic and export goods moving to the city from Auckland and the upper North Island, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Wellington. Freight volumes are expected to increase significantly in the coming decades and it is crucial that we have an integrated transport network to support this growth. The rail connection of the hub is the most important component of the project that will help shift road freight transport towards railways. “Every tonne of freight carried by rail has 70 per cent fewer carbon emissions than heavy road freight. Getting more freight on rail also reduces road maintenance costs and improves road safety,” KiwiRail says.
KiwiRail has progressed plans for a high-tech, intermodal freight hub which will help grow Palmerston North’s role as a critical freight distribution centre for the lower North Island.
It will support rail and road transport working together to meet the freight demand in the lower North Island, while boosting the regional economy.