Tuesday, 24th May, 2016
The Green Party proposal to plough more than $800 million into upper North Island rail freight and coastal shipping in a bid to get trucks off Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty roads is dreaming big time, says Auckland Chamber of Commerce head Michael Barnett.
“Sure, rail can be efficient for long haul freight. But trucks are needed at the start and end of every rail freight or coastal shipping route to get the freight from the factory to the rail head and then to the customer,”
Billions of dollars of tax payer funds have been poured into propping up rail – it has not proved efficient for short haul trips. “Tax payers won’t wear this proposal,” he predicts.
The time-cost of shifting freight by truck beats rail in most cases. Large areas of the upper North Island don’t have a rail network, let alone a rail service. “Using rail and coastal shipping would not be attractive to customers against the one-day services many truck services offer.
“The Greens need to get real and focus on transport investments that will make a measurable difference,” concluded Mr Barnett.