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No rush on new Auckland port

No rush on new Auckland port

NZ Truck & Driver News

 August 2020   
Transport industry leaders are calling for a halt to the rush to move Auckland's port.
Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett says it's "time to take a breath" on where best to locate a future replacement for the Ports of Auckland.

And National Road Carriers Association chief executive David Aitken says that the Government-commissioned Sapere report supports NRC's own study's finding – "that Northport is not a good option and there is time to decide on alternatives."

Aitken says that before the latest report (by economic consultancy Sapere), the decision to move the port from Auckland to Northport was being rushed: "We needed to stop, take stock and reassess. The Sapere report says 'certainty rather than urgency is the main issue."

The Sapere report found that a shared increase in capacity at Northport and Port of Tauranga could accommodate the freight t

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Transport industry leaders are calling for a halt to the rush to move Auckland's port.
Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett says it's "time to take a breath" on where best to locate a future replacement for the Ports of Auckland.
And National Road Carriers Association chief executive David Aitken says that the Government-commissioned Sapere report supports NRC's own study's finding – "that Northport is not a good option and there is time to decide on alternatives."
Aitken says that before the latest report (by economic consultancy Sapere), the decision to move the port from Auckland to Northport was being rushed: "We needed to stop, take stock and reassess. The Sapere report says 'certainty rather than urgency is the main issue.' "
The Sapere report found that a shared increase in capacity at Northport and Port of Tauranga could accommodate the freight task for up to 60 years, but would then have little or no room to expand. 
It said new port options on the Firth of Thames or the Manukau Harbour would have sufficient capacity for the long term – well beyond 60 years.
And, as Aitken adds, the Sapere report also found that the Port of Auckland's current downtown Auckland location has about 30 years' capacity – and there is a 10-15 year window for making a final decision on relocation.
Leggett welcomes the Sapere findings as "a sensible and measured report that stopped the push to develop Northport in its tracks. The promises around Northport were only ever based on New Zealand First's desire to secure the Northland electorate seat at this year's election.
"RTF has spoken out against the move to Northport on many occasions because of the cost it would add to move freight further away from its end destination. That's before you even get into logistics and environmental impacts.
"As a country facing severe economic hardship in the wake of  COVID-19, the Government cannot afford to spend money on poorly thought-out projects that don't stack up on costs versus benefits."
Given the Sapere report's timeframe for a decision, Leggett says: "Surely, in that time, there can be a sensible assessment of what the problem we are trying to solve is and how best to solve it, rather than trying to retro-fit a solution to meet the needs of politicians, or other vested interests.
NRC's report, Moving the Ports of Auckland: Costs and Challenges for Road Freight – based on interviews with trucking companies and stakeholders – concluded that Ports of Auckland should continue in its current location until it can't efficiently handle further growth.
It found that moving Auckland's port to Northport would be logistically impractical, prohibitively expensive, would increase greenhouse gas emissions and add to traffic congestion.
On releasing the Sapere report, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said the location of a future port for the northern North Island had significant fiscal, economic, social and environmental implications. 
Aitken agrees that the port location "should hinge on the ability to handle growth efficiently, and whether the port's location helps achieve the Upper North Island's full economic, social and environmental potential."  

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