Transport Minister Simon Bridges had an official tour today.
The revamped hub on Smart Rd, New Plymouth, is a dedicated container transfer site with heavy lifting equipment that will make it easier to connect efficiently with rail from across the region.
CentrePort is also planning to provide container upgrading facilities. These will free up more containers for local importers and exporters, and will help ease pressure on container availability during peak times.
By working with local businesses, CentrePort says the hub is focused on better connecting the shippers of Taranaki to the world and provides users with another reliable transport service.
Chief Executive Derek Nind says CentrePort is committed to investing in terminals and rail links to ensure regional businesses remain competitive. The Smart Road initiative is an extension of the CentreRail network across central New Zealand. In 2015 a similar hub opened in Whanganui, and now provides an essential link between the Whanganui region and world markets.
“This hub offers shippers a long-term, reliable transport connection that means they can better connect with their customers,” Derek Nind said.
KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy said locals will be familiar with the Smart Road railhead.
“Our collective investment enhances the sites capability extensively. Thanks to upgraded equipment, Taranaki businesses will be able to make the most of the rail network, which runs direct to CentrePort daily.
“This more efficient inland transport link makes sense for local businesses, but also supports our local environment by giving shippers easy access to rail, reducing the pressure on our roads,” Peter Reidy said.
CentrePort sustained significant damage during the 14 November earthquake. Temporary repairs to resume modified ship-to-shore crane operations are now well advanced, and are expected to be complete by August. Regular container services are visiting the Port using geared ships, and CentrePort’s other key trades are now exceeding pre-earthquake levels.
The rail hub is the outcome of a collaboration between CentrePort and KiwiRail. They work with local partners, the Bartley family, in a joint venture called Direct Connect.