Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) the intergenerational investor for Waikato-Tainui will later this week commence foundational earthworks for the first stage of its inland port at Ruakura.
TGH Chief Executive Chris Joblin said it was an exciting milestone after a number of years on the drawing board and in the planning rooms for the overall 480 hectare project on the eastern boundary of Hamilton.
“As a long-term, staged development project likely to span 20-30 years Ruakura will deliver great benefits for the region’s exporters and importers as well as opportunities for Waikato-Tainui people, and has the potential to support 6,000-12,000 jobs within the precinct once fully-built,” Mr Joblin says.
The site was blessed by Kiingi Tuheitia in a tribal ceremony attended by Waikato-Tainui leaders and tribal members on 28 March.
TGH has appointed New Zealand-owned infrastructure company Fulton Hogan as contractor to carry out the initial works covering the first seven hectares of what will eventually be a 31 hectare inland port with the capacity to handle around 1 million TEUs (20 foot container equivalents) per year when fully built.
“Foundational earthworks will involve trucking crushed rock into the site to pre-load the area to be used for the container marshalling yard. It will take around 12 months for the ground to settle before pavement layers, a rail siding, noise wall, screen planting and services can be completed,” Mr Joblin says.
“We are in consultation with a range of potential customers and tenants for the inland port and adjoining logistics hub which will provide ‘port neutrality’ between Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga.”
“The site will have excellent connections to the East Coast Main Trunk Line and to the new Waikato Expressway via a full diamond interchange,” he says.
Fulton Hogan Waikato Regional manager Kerry Watkins said the company was pleased to partner with a project of national significance.
“As we move into the initial works, keeping people safe on the roads and on the site is a top priority,” Mr Watkins says.
“We take the health and safety of our people and communities very seriously. Fulton Hogan has a zero harm policy and a commitment to safe public operations. Together with TGH, we will monitor feedback to ensure safe and courteous truck operations on public roads and seek to minimise impacts on neighbours,” he says.
Extra safety measures will include temporary traffic management warning signs, and speed restrictions.
TGH expects to appoint a world class port operator in mid-2017 following an RFP process currently underway and plans to commence initial operations at the inland port in the first half of 2019.