Food and beverage companies are among a throng of other industries keen to get involved with the 480ha Ruakura Inland Port and logistics hub development, built by Tainui Group Holdings in Hamilton and earmarked for opening next year.

Project general manager Blair Morris says enquiry is coming chiefly from major warehousing and distribution businesses looking to relocate outside of Auckland, including significant players in food and beverage processing. Due to demand, Morris says the project is moving along faster than predicted, and is expected to be totally completed within 30 years – two decades less than the company’s initial estimate of 50 years. “We forecast up to 2.6 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent container units) would be moving by 2044,” he says. “However, the pace of growth is ahead of forecast as the two major North Island ports are already moving circa 2.2 million TEUs, only four years on from the forecast.” The first 6ha of stage one is underway and, when completely finished, the port will be able to handle a million TEUs per year, and is expected to be home to more than 10,000 employees and 4500 residents.

Significant commercial property activity expansion in three New Zealand regions have seen their shipping, rail and trucking transport volumes increase over the past decade — in the Waikato, Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury. Bayleys’ Scott Campbell says regional New Zealand’s industrial property sector has benefitted from growth in port activity and the methods of transport. “Previously it was a case of a wharf-to-warehouse supply chain for imports, or vice-versa for exports. Now though, with bigger volumes coming in, we are seeing the rise of intermediary in-land ports and for both import and export-reliant firms, we are seeing much bigger warehousing facilities being built to accommodate stock, either once it has been unloaded from containers, or in advance of being containerised. That has seen a greater prevalence of ultra high-stud ‘drive through’ warehousing rather than the traditional dock and platform loading bays. Warehousing facilities are buying bigger landholdings capable of storing substantial numbers of both 20 and 40-foot containers.” Hawke’s Bay’s Whakatu freight hub is waiting to be developed, and Rolleston in Canterbury’s 95ha IPort Business Park is the pre-eminent industrial growth area in Canterbury.