NEW Zealand port authority Ports of Auckland has signed a 15-year agreement with Tranz Rail to operate a dedicated container train on the North Island Main Trunk. The train will handle import and export traffic to and from a new container terminal at Palmerston North, serving the south of the island.

The port authority’s container division Axis Intermodal will invest around NZ$5m, and will own the rolling stock. Tranz Rail will operate the train under a haulage contract. Axis runs the rail container terminal at Auckland, and will also operate that at Palmerston North.

The agreement provides for at least one train a day each way, but the port authority hopes to see this expand as more companies start to take advantage of the wide range of shipping services operating from Auckland. n