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Rail has a natural advantage as an energy efficient and low emissions mode of transport, with 66% fewer emissions than heavy road freight transport. 

KiwiRail plays a critical role in New Zealand’s transport system and has much to offer New Zealand in the transition to a low emissions future. 

Carbon Zero Programme

We have carbon emissions reduction targets over the short and long term, which seek to reduce the carbon intensity of our activities and support emission reductions across the New Zealand transport sector. We have implemented energy and emissions reductions opportunities resulting in:

  • A 15% reduction in carbon intensity of rail freight since FY12.
  • Reduced fuel usage on the Interislander ferries by 5% per sailing since 2016. This fuel saving is equivalent to the amount of energy used to power 2478 average NZ households each year.
  • Reduced fuel burn by 6% on locomotives resulting in a fuel saving of 4.5 million litres of diesel since FY16. This fuel saving is equivalent to taking 2,660 cars off the road each year; and the amount of energy used to power 6,909 average NZ households each year.

More information on our emissions reduction activities can be found here.

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KiwiRail's award-winning Driver Advisory System helps reduce fuel burn on our locomotives.

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Steel Wheels

KiwiRail works closely with our customers on how they can reduce carbon emissions, reduce the impact of heavy freight on roads and reduce fuel usage. This is illustrated through our SteelWheels data which shows the emissions avoided by using rail.

Steel Wheels shows that in the year to June 2018, KiwiRail took 1.1 million truck trips off the road, saved 66.3 million litres of fuel and avoided 180,212 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Calculating Carbon Emissions from a KiwiRail Service

KiwiRail’s latest Annual Integrated Report has the most recent Rail Freight Carbon Intensity (g CO2-e/NTK) figure to use in your calculations for carbon emissions from a KiwiRail service. Our methodology for developing this calculation has been independently verified by Enviro-Mark Solutions (2018).

If you require further assistance with calculating carbon emissions, contact us on

Waste Minimisation

We are working to establish waste reduction targets across the business and identify real opportunities to minimise waste to landfill and support the evolution of a circular economy.

Sustainable Procurement

We are working with suppliers to improve sustainable outcomes across our supply chain.