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World-class transport achievable in BOP: Industry

The time is right for improved road and rail integration to yield considerable benefits for the Bay of Plenty economy, according to a local industry group.

The Bay of Connections Freight Logistics Action Group (FLAG) met this month with a clear focus on improving collaboration between road and rail in an effort to streamline the region’s freight movements, both within the Bay of Plenty and nationwide.

FLAG is made up of industry players and public sector transport experts, including representatives from KiwiRail and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).

Alan Piper from KiwiRail says the Bay of Plenty is an important component of New Zealand’s rail network as it forms part of the golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.

“At the moment, rail moves 30% of New Zealand’s exports, and we believe that we are well-positioned to service freight hubs and the advent of larger vessels. Moving freight by rail is a lot more cost effective and efficient, as well as having a lower carbon toll on the environment.”

Mr Piper says KiwiRail is continuing to invest in heavy capable intermodal wagons that can be used for various types of freight.

Marinus LaRooij from NZTA says the agency is also looking at lifting freight network productivity through better road-rail integration.

“Freight growth is happening, so we need to manage this growth while lifting productivity.

“Seventy per cent of New Zealand’s freight is moved by road, so much of the Transport Agency’s focus is on road freight productivity and safety. But, we need to work across the land transport system to get the best result for New Zealand and deliver on the government’s objective of lifting economic performance.

“There is great potential value to the country’s freight network if we can work with KiwiRail to better integrate the two systems.”

FLAG chairman John Gordon says KiwiRail’s efforts to streamline freight movements on rail will be a good step forward for the region.

“It’s been encouraging to have both the Transport Agency and KiwiRail involved in discussions about how road and rail integration would work and what each party could bring to the table.

“The Transport Agency is to be commended on their work to-date with implementing High Productivity Motor vehicles (HPMVs), including 50MAX, and the success this has had in moving more freight on fewer trucks.

“With KiwiRail on board, and their work on bringing in intermodal wagons, the integration between road and rail is only going to get better. We are well on our way to creating world-class freight logistics in the Bay of Plenty region.

“We are excited to move towards a better road and rail integration and FLAG will be key players in how this develops.”

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Friday, November 27, 2015

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