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Palmerston North freight hub

Palmerston North is already a nationally strategic freight location, with domestic and export goods moving to the city from Auckland and the upper North Island, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Wellington.

Freight volumes are expected to increase significantly in the coming decades and it is crucial that we have an integrated transport network to support this growth. Rail is an important part of this picture.

KiwiRail is developing plans for a high-tech, multi-modal freight hub which will help grow Palmerston North’s role as a critical freight distribution centre for the lower North Island.

It will support rail and road transport working together to meet the freight demand in central New Zealand, while boosting the regional economy.

The hub project is aligned with Horizon’s and Palmerston North City Council growth plans and it will tie in with other freight transport projects in the region.

KiwiRail has received funding to undertake the design of the hub, have the land designated for rail use and purchase the required land.

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  • Reducing transport emissions and road costs - every tonne of freight carried by rail has 66 per cent fewer carbon emissions than heavy road freight. Getting more freight on rail also reduces road maintenance costs and improves road safety.
  • Taking pressure off city roads - situating the hub outside Palmerston North and integrating it with NZTA’s planned freight ring road and Manawatu Gorge road, will take freight traffic out of central Palmerston North and reduce congestion.
  • Growing the logistics industry in Manawatu - KiwiRail will also work with key customers on major infrastructure requirements to encourage logistics and distribution businesses into the area, to help grow the sector and create more local jobs.
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Project phases

  • August 2018: Application for funding to design the hub, have land designated for rail use and purchase land submitted to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
  • November 2018: Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced $40 million funding to develop a new road-rail hub near Palmerston North
  • 2019: Hub design (expected to take approx. four months)
  • Identifying potential site options, then confirming preferred site – which includes seeking stakeholder/public feedback
  • From mid-late 2020 we expect to begin the Designation process - which includes public notification and further opportunities for public input.
  • Once the designation is confirmed the land purchase will commence.
  • After the designation is complete and land has been purchased, KiwiRail will begin planning for building the freight hub, which will include resource consents. 


More information and contact details