KiwiRail freight service on the Main North Line south of Seddon

NEW ZEALAND: National railway KiwiRail is to launch a weekday freight service between Auckland and Christchurch from October, boosting capacity between the North and South islands in time for the peak season and while the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is disrupting other modes.

There will be daily Monday to Friday departures from Auckland, connecting with Interislander ferries before continuing to Christchurch. The 60 ft wagons will provide up to 300 TEU of additional weekly capacity, alongside the weekly services already offered.

‘We are heading into the country’s busiest period for freight, from October through to March, a time when businesses look to restock ahead of Christmas and New Year when demand for products increases, and exports rise’, said KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Greg Miller on August 30.

’Many businesses are still feeling the ongoing impacts of Covid on the global supply chain and experiencing delays on imported goods. Shipping lines continue to struggle to offer certainty of capacity and delivery for the movement of freight between the islands.

‘KiwiRail has identified this gap in the market so is stepping up to relieve some of these pressures by offering a faster and more certain domestic service than currently is available from shipping lines alone.’

Miller said congestion between Auckland and Christchurch is expected to continue ‘for the foreseeable future until global shipping capacity and reliability return’, and the rail service ‘is part of our commitment to keep New Zealand moving’.