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Tainui Group Holdings seeks port operator for planned Ruakura inland port

Monday 18th July 2016

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Tainui Group Holdings is seeking expressions of interest from port operators for its planned multi-billion dollar inland port development just outside of Hamilton.

TGH chief executive Chris Joblin said after years in planning and hearings, Ruakura has cleared zoning and resource consent hurdles for the first stage of the inland port and logistics hub and now wants to appoint a port operator to have input on its construction which will get underway later this year. The deadline for formal expressions of interest is Sept. 30.

The 480-hectare Ruakura development incorporates a 33 ha inland port and 84 ha logistics zone. Joblin wouldn’t confirm the cost of developing the inland port though a figure of $3.3 billion has been cited for the entire development.

Joblin said they were looking for a New Zealand or overseas-based port operator that has no existing ties with the Port of Tauranga or Ports of Auckland at the request of potential customers.

“Port neutrality – providing the flexibility for importers and exporters to access both seaports so they can get the best deals and manage risks is a key part of the Ruakura proposal,” he said.

The inland port sits to the east of Hamilton and is equidistant to both major North Island ports.

The operator will be an option to invest in the site infrastructure, including loading and uploading areas adjacent to the planned rail siding. Joblin claimed the extensive use of rail will take up to 65,000 truck journeys off the road once the inland port is in full swing.

He expects the inland port to be profitable from “the get go” despite Ports of Auckland announcing it planned to build a competing 33 ha logistics hub at the Northgate Business Park in Horotiu, just north of Hamilton.  

Key players in the export and imports sector are said to have already approached TGH but Joblin said none had been signed up at this early stage and he expected that to happen progressively over the 18-month construction timeframe.

Container volumes through the inland port will gradually build to 100,000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) by the third year though the port will have the capacity to manage more than 1 million container moves a year when fully built out in coming decades.

TGH is the investment arm for Waikato-Tainui and its investments include a 50 percent share in The Base shopping centre in Hamilton along with fishing, farms and forestry.

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