Ports of Auckland move uncertain

24 Oct 2017
Container stacks at Ports of Auckland

A feasibility study was commissioned on the options for moving the Ports of Auckland but no decision has made as yet

The future of a plan to move container operations from Ports of Auckland to Northport is uncertain.

Winston Peters, leader of New Zealand First (NZ First), has watered down his "cast iron commitment" to moving operations, according to the New Zealand Herald.

A feasibility study was commissioned on the options for moving the Ports of Auckland following general election debates on the issue, but no action has been taken on the regional rail investments required for a move to Northport following the formation of a coalition between NZ First and Labour last month, said the Herald.

Investment unclear

It reported that during the election campaign Peters said: "The days of the Ports of Auckland as a container ports and as a car yard are numbered.” Mr Peters apparently added that Northport would be handling all of Auckland's container operations by 2027.

There has been no confirmation to upgrade Northland rail, including a line from Oakleigh to Northport, according to the Herald.

The Auckland Council owns 100% of Ports of Auckland and a council-commissioned study recommended the port moved long term to Manukau Harbour or Firth of Thames.

Wider study needed

A spokesman for Mayor Phil Goff said the council was progressing work on moving the port from its present waterfront location, but location depended on business potential, said the Herald.

Goff supports a wider study and strategy around North Island ports before deciding on relocating Ports of Auckland.

The Herald reported that a spokesman for Ports of Auckland said finding the best location, getting consent, funding and building a new port will take decades.

30-year plan

The company has developed a 30-year master plan for the port, which will be made public next week.

In August, Ports off Auckland said it “welcomed the Government’s decision to fund the expansion of a key freight and passenger rail line through Auckland.”

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