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Rail has a natural advantage as an energy efficient and low emissions mode of transport, with 70 percent 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 medium and long term, designed to reduce the carbon intensity of our activities and support emission reductions across the New Zealand transport sector. These are to reduce our carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 and to be net zero carbon by 2050. 

A key aspect of our Carbon Zero Programme is our close collaboration with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). With EECA’s support we continue to progress carbon reduction initiatives towards our 2030 target.

One of our key initiatives to improve the energy efficiency of our locomotives is through the Driver Advice System (DAS). Watch our video with ECCA to find out more.

More information on our emissions reduction activities can be found in in our annual Integrated Report.

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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 helps its freight customers quantify the emissions benefits of choosing rail over road through a monthly ‘Steel Wheels’ report. The report illustrates the carbon reduction achieved by using rail and includes information on fuel savings and the reduced heavy vehicle impact their movements on rail have made. This information supports customers in telling their own sustainability story on how they are taking action to address climate change by choosing rail.

Steel Wheels shows that in the year to June 2023, KiwiRail transported around 18 million tonnes of freight, which equates to taking more than 1.06 million truck trips off the road, avoiding 270,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions. (Sourced from IR 2023)

Calculating Carbon Emissions from a KiwiRail Freight Service

KiwiRail’s annual Integrated Report has the most recent Rail Freight Carbon Intensity
(g CO2e/NTK) figure to use in your calculations for carbon emissions from a KiwiRail freight service. Our methodology for developing this calculation has been independently verified by Toitū Envirocare (2023).

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