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Waikato port no dry run

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Inland port offers room for expansion

Port of Tauranga is proving that just because there is no harbour in Hamilton, a port is still a viable and welcome piece of infrastructure to ensure a robust, future proof supply link between the regions.

The Ruakura Inland Port is being developed in a 50/50 partnership with Tainui Group Holdings (TGH). The first stage of the inland port, part of TGH’s giant Ruakura Superhub, is due to open in early 2023.

The Superhub comprises a massive 490ha site that will also be home to logistics, industrial and services tenants. Early tenants include companies that already enjoy strong ties with Port of Tauranga, including Maersk.

The inland port’s first stage comprises 9 hectares, with future development taking it to 30ha.

Port of Tauranga CEO Leonard Sampson is welcoming the facility’s commissioning, and what it means for links between the Tauranga port base and Waikato.

“Through the inland port, Waikato based shippers will get rail connected access to the big ship services that only call at Tauranga. Bigger ships are more efficient and produce fewer carbon emissions per container when combined with rail, which also takes trucks off regional roads,” he says.

Leonard Sampson says the migration of industry from South Auckland, where land is increasingly scarce and expensive, to Waikato is expected to continue. This was something recognised in the Waikato- Bay of Plenty Freight Action Plan published earlier this year.

Purposed as a container storage and consolidation point, the inland port provides valuable real estate to enable Port of Tauranga to grow as cargo capacity volumes increase.

“In Tainui Group Holdings we have found a partner with strongly aligned values and interests,” says Leonard Sampson

“We see this as a long-term, strategic partnership that combines the Port’s experience and expertise in developing and operating ports with Waikato-Tainui’s deep regional connections and commercial acumen.”

He says for Port of Tauranga, the inland facility also helps further cement a highly efficient supply chain so vital to connect the hinterland to the harbour side port facility, and ultimately to the rest of the world.

Related: Port invests in the next stages of growth

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