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KiwiRail to begin new log service to Wellington from Wairarapa
KiwiRail will shortly begin hauling logs from Wairarapa to Wellington by rail as part of a joint venture with lower North Island forestry exporters and CentrePort.
It is expected the new business will see around 80,000 tonnes of export logs moved each year from a transfer yard at Waingawa - that will mean 10 wagons a day, five days a week, added to the existing Masterton to Wellington freight service.
KiwiRail Freight's National Manager Bulk and Forestry, Steve Muir, says KiwiRail had responded to the growth in log export volumes and bought specialised log carrying equipment which made the initiative possible.
"It is a venture that we have been looking at with exporters for some time and have conducted a number of trials over the years. However the arrival of new wagons and log bolsters last year has enabled us to move ahead with this on a long term basis," he says.
CentrePort Chief Executive Blair O'Keeffe says that the Wairarapa is key cargo hinterland for CentrePort, and this development is a further boost for the region's economy.
"This project has involved extensive discussions with key supply chain parties and local Wairarapa stakeholders, and it is pleasing to see the first service commissioned.
"Apart from boosting supply chain capacity and facilitating the better utilisation of assets across transport modes, the new rail service would help reduce road congestion. CentrePort's log trade was a central pillar of the port's activity and the port continues to work on initiatives to meet the needs of the regions log exporters, including further use of rail."
The business will start next week. KiwiRail owns the nine-hectare site at Waingawa which was already rail served. Some minor work will be carried out to prepare the site and rail siding for the task ahead, Mr Muir says.
KiwiRail has ambitious plans to renew it fleet of wagons and locomotives Last year it took delivery of 500 new flat top wagons and 20 new locomotives. It also purchased 100 sets of log bolsters which can be attached to the wagons for carrying logs.