An Upper North Island Freight Strategy?

Without serious investment in rail the entire exercise could be considered fluff


From NZTA:

Upper North Island Freight Accord identifies freight strategy


A shared vision for the efficient and safe movement of freight across the Upper North Island and beyond has been identified in the Upper North Island Freight Accord, developed by the NZ Transport Agency with the support of a number of industry organisations and local government.

The Accord delivers on the Government’s direction to improve the efficiency of freight movements in order to make the New Zealand’s economy more internationally competitive, grow our exports and ensure safety.

Transport Agency Freight Portfolio Director Harry Wilson says the organisations have developed the Accord as a shared view of the freight challenges and opportunities facing the upper North Island to ensure a collaborative approach to planning and investment decisions which affect the movement of freight.

“The Upper North Island Freight Accord gives us a common understanding of ways to lift freight efficiency and improve safety, something that will benefit all of New Zealand,” Harry says.

Around 56 per cent of New Zealand’s freight is moved within the upper North Island meaning that freight efficiency in the region affects the prosperity of the whole country.

“The size of the national freight task is expected to grow by 50 per cent over the next few decades, so developing strategies to make the freight system as efficient as possible will reduce the cost of goods and increase the competitiveness of our importers and exporters,” Harry says.

The Accord identifies principles, actions and success factors that will deliver a better freight system which delivers certainty for investors.

“As an exporting nation with a focus on the primary sector, freight is the lifeblood of our economy and so it is critical that all the groups across the freight sector work together to make this system as good as it can be,” Harry says.

There are 21 organisations who support the Upper North Island Freight Accord;

  • The Upper North Island Strategic Alliance which is made up of Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty regional councils, Whangarei District Council, Auckland Council and Hamilton and Tauranga city councils.
  • KiwiRail
  • Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga
  • Auckland Transport
  • The Transport Agency
  • Road Transport Forum
  • Fonterra
  • Transport firms HW Richardson, TR Group, Hall’s Group, Mainfreight, NZL Group, Toll and TIL Freight.

The Upper North Island Freight Accord follows on from the Upper North Island Freight Story (external link)which was a process of high level conversations to develop a summary of critical issues constraining the efficient movement  of freight and outlining a share approach to decision making among the partners.

The Accord is part of a national freight planning process undertaken by the Transport Agency which has seen the preparation of a draft South Island Freight Plan (external link)while work continues on a Central Freight Plan. Once work on freight planning in all three regions is further advanced, work will begin on a national freight plan which will look at how the nationwide freight system can be planned and developed with a ‘one network’ approach.


The report or rather accord can be seen here:



Well unless we see serious policy and funding changes towards rail that includes splitting up Kiwi Rail so that it runs as a freight company (and a profitable one at that too) while the tracks join the roads under NZTA’s control then we might be getting somewhere with moving freight around the upper North Island.

And if Government got out of its ideological fetish against rail and allowed companies like Mainfreight to participate in investing in rail even further then having the State Highways clogged with trucks hauling freight over 100km might just be avoided. Because as we know heavy rail is the most efficient land transport form for moving large amounts of freight over medium and long distances (coastal shipping is most efficient for long distance like Auckland to Christchurch).






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