30 Jun 2020
For National Road Carriers
Moving Auckland’s Port to Northport would be logistically impractical, prohibitively expensive, increase greenhouse gas emissions and add to traffic congestion according to a report commissioned by National Road Carriers Association (NRC).
The report, based on interviews with trucking companies and stakeholders, concludes Ports of Auckland should continue in its current location until it can’t efficiently handle further growth.
With a focus on road freight, the report concludes the issue was not port location, but the efficiency and safety of road (and rail) access to the three existing upper North Island ports – Auckland, Tauranga and Northport.
NRC chief executive David Aitken says Auckland road freight operators interviewed for the report, Moving the Ports of Auckland: Costs and Challenges for Road Freight, estimated the proposed replacement of Ports of Auckland with Northport could provide at least a five-fold increase in business for them but they are strongly against the idea because it does not make sense. See Key Point Summary (and the full report at https://www.natroad.co.nz/Story?Action=View&Story_id=2336), but briefly:
The most cost and energy efficient freight is delivered by sea as close as possible to its market. The annual cost of road and rail freighting goods 160 kilometres between Northport and Auckland would increase by more than $1 billion.
With the upper North Island’s three ports (Auckland, Tauranga and Northport) having limited access and capacity, in a 100-year time frame a super port on the Firth of Thames (or Manukau) could be assessed.
The NRC report says a wider study than just looking at Northport is required to look at long term business needs, 30, 50 and 100 year trends including distance from customers, cost and scale. The question of port location should hinge on the ability to handle growth and whether the port’s location helps achieve the Upper North Island’s full economic, social and environmental potential.
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