PM: Ports strategy out tomorrow
Wednesday 11 Dec 2019Ports of Auckland is not viable as the main import terminal for the upper North Island long term, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
The final report from the government-commissioned Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy study will be published Thursday.
While Ardern would not comment on its content, nor the government’s specific response to it, she said that long-term the central city port does not fit.
“The Cabinet is of the view that the Ports of Auckland is not viable as the upper North Island key import port in the long-term,” she told journalists in Wellington today. “For Cabinet, the question is not if, but where and when it will move.”
Last month, a leak of the study group’s findings showed it favoured shifting cargo away from central Auckland to Northport at Marsden Point over the next 30 years. Port of Tauranga, the country’s largest export port, already handles about 30 percent of Auckland’s imports and is also considered a contender for much of that volume given its ample scope for further expansion.
The upper North Island supply chain study was the result of a pre-election pledge by NZ First to move container operation from Ports of Auckland to Northport by 2027.
The deep water port has ample scope for expansion, but the operation, part-owned by both Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga, has only relatively limited non-forestry freight and to date has been hampered by the lack of transport links south.
In September, KiwiRail was given almost $95 million by the government to repair and upgrade the rail link between Auckland and Whangarei. Separately, the state-owned rail company is also investigating the feasibility of building a 20-kilometre rail line out to the port.
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